DAVENPORT — Graduates of Scott Community College were told to "pass on the dream" at their commencement ceremony Wednesday in the RiverCenter.|
Don Doucette, chancellor of Eastern Iowa Community Colleges, congratulated the hundreds of graduates of the colleges' numerous degree and certificate programs. He applauded them for the hard work and dedication that let them meet their goals and push for something better.
Mr. Doucette said each graduate enrolled for different reasons and overcame different sets of obstacles. Each story, he said, is part of a broader picture.
He said the students were part of the "American Dream" -- setting their sights on a better life and seeing through to their goals.
"You are part of an inter-generational story that made this country and made it great," he said.
Mr. Doucette encouraged graduates to have faith in that dream. He challenged them to let their confidence lead them to success in the next chapter of their lives.
And he invited the gathering to savor their success and talk about it with friends, family and even strangers.
"Share your story," Mr. Doucette said. "Pass on the dream."
His message was echoed by Rod Risley, executive director of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society, who told graduates they were responsible for keeping the American dream alive. Factors such as the expanding income gap and the country's diminishing rank in terms of college completion pose a threat to the ideal, he said.
"The American dream is real," Mr. Risley said. "[But] there are some strings attached."
Not all who want to go to college are offered the same opportunities and resources, he said, and many miss out on the experience.
"You have a responsibility to improve the quality of your community, for all in your community," he said.
He also told graduates not to fear seeking new success. "The only thing possible to prevent you is you," he added.
Ashley Reynolds, of Bettendorf, was among Wednesday's graduates. The 30-year-old mother of two received an associates degree in applied sciences in mechanical design technology.
She said she began taking "a few classes here and there" after completing high school in 2000. Ms. Reynolds said she had always wanted to be an engineer, and the support of her professors pointed her toward her preferred discipline.
"I wouldn't be here without them," she said.
Ms. Reynolds now plans to start a new job at Rockwell Collins, a Cedar Rapids-based avionics and information technology company. And she hopes to later pursue an industrial engineering degree.
Davenport, IA Details
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