(Orange, CA) —Santiago Canyon College (SCC) will celebrate its 19th commencement on Friday, June 1 at 6 p.m. Of the 1,131 students receiving degrees and certificates, approximately 300 students ranging in age from 15 to 79 and 20 military veterans are expected to participate in the ceremony.
“Santiago Canyon College is proud of the achievements of our 2018 graduating class,” said SCC President Dr. John Hernandez. “Our diverse population inspires us to continue providing students with unparalleled educational experiences and opportunities. We wish all of our graduates continued success in their educational pursuits and professional endeavors.”
Among this spring’s graduates is Michele Walker of Orange who will graduate with two associate degrees in liberal arts. Walker, 51, was a high school dropout who obtained her G.E.D. and decided to return to school only after her three children completed their high school educations.
“Being an older student is interesting because I wasn’t sure how I would feel at first,” Walker said. “All of the professors made a difference in how I look at things. I’m 51 years old and it still had an impact on me, I feel, and I think that’s pretty incredible. That self-consciousness I had when I started about being older, I don’t have anymore. I know I belong there and that’s because the campus made me feel like I belong there.”
Friday’s ceremony will be the first time Walker walks with her graduating class. As an older student, she said that she would enjoy the experience more than she would have, had she attended upon receiving her G.E.D. Enrolling in college gave her the opportunity to take abnormal psychology with her youngest son who completed his degree at Santa Ana College and now attends University of California, Irvine.
“I went back to finish something I regret not finishing many years ago and to find myself,” she said, noting that throughout her time at SCC she battled cancer and persevered through personal issues that may have derailed her younger self from completing her degree. “It has been a really great experience. I didn’t give myself credit for what I could do. It feels really good to graduate. I’ve done all this work and this is what I’ve done it for.”
Walker will receive SCC’s highest honor, the President’s Scholar Medal, and plans to attend California State University, Fullerton in the fall.
Another student being recognized this spring is Amna Siddiqui. With a 4.0 grade point average, Siddiqui will serve as the 2018 class valedictorian and graduate with associate degrees in arts, humanities and communications, social and behavioral sciences, math and science. Siddiqui is an active member of Phi Theta Kappa honors society and has been recognized for winning research papers at the International Atomic Energy Agency Committee in the Model United Nations Conference held in Washington D.C., and another in the Human Rights Council of the New York Conference.
Friday’s commencement speech will be provided by SCC English instructor Professor William Lennertz whose teaching focuses on empowering students with useful skills and attitudes, as well as motivating students to take responsibility for their actions. By ensuring growth through challenges, Lennertz hopes students will see their education not simply in the context of employment, but as part of their whole lives.
Santiago Canyon College’s commencement ceremony will be held at the college’s Vazquez Promenade, between H and SC buildings at 8045 N. Chapman Avenue in Orange.
About Santiago Canyon College
Santiago Canyon College (SCC) serves more than 17,000 credit and noncredit students each semester. In 2017, SCC was ranked #13 among the 50 Best Community Colleges in the U.S. by College Choice, a leading authority in college and university rankings and resources. The college prepares students for transfer to four-year institutions and careers, and provides courses for personal and professional development, as well as customized training for business and industry. The college is recognized for its adult education program which keeps the working adult - and senior - in mind by offering flexible schedules, and community locations. Serving the residents of Anaheim Hills, Orange, Tustin, and Villa Park, SCC is one of two comprehensive colleges under the auspices of the Rancho Santiago Community College District.
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