Jeffrey Butterfield, George Kort, Michael Dailey, and David Duarte celebrate together after receiving their BAS-AM degrees.
A total of 362 students made the jubilant walk across the stage June 12 to receive their degrees and certificates from Centralia College. The excited graduates donned the traditional blue caps and gowns and were joined by a raucous crowd of family, friends, and loved ones.
Centralia College President Dr. Robert Frost greeted the crowd and guests.
“This event is special in so many ways,” he said. “I am touched to see the center of the college filled with what is most important to us all: people; relationships; and to witness the love and commitment we have for one another.”
Frost noted the ceremony marked the end of the college’s 89th continuous year of service to Lewis County and Washington State, adding each graduate “will carry forward a legacy that began in 1925 and was carried forward through the Great Depression, a World War, the Great Recession, and many other challenging times.”
This inspirational message was furthered by the two speakers chosen for the commencement ceremony: Dr. David Carsten, the 2015 Distinguished Alumnus, and JR Siperly, the president of the Associated Students of Centralia College.
Carsten, a dental anesthesiologist whose father served many years as the college’s dean of administration, spoke about his time at the college, both as a child and later as a student. He graduated from CC in 1977.
Carsten urged the graduates to encourage others and to be grateful always.
“I am grateful to you,” he said. “Be well. Do well.”
Siperly, who moonlights as a youth football coach, echoed a similar sentiment when he urged the graduates to “rep it out,” advice he gives in the weight room to his players. “When you think you can’t take one more step, lift one more weight, or take one more class,” he said, “rep it out and keep going.”
“I like to use that to get through the daily grind,” he said. “The daily grind is what brought you here today. Life doesn’t get easier after today. It’s just as hard.”
He then led the crowd in a chant of “I can, I will, I must” and urged them to surround themselves with positive people.
Several awards were given as part of the commencement ceremony.