A total of 154 graduates crossed the stage of the Caswell County Civic Center in Yanceyville, NC the evening of May 17 as Piedmont Community College (PCC) celebrated the class of 2024 during their commencement ceremony.

The auditorium was filled with proud family members, friends, faculty and staff as the graduates marched in wearing dark green academic regalia to celebrate this momentous occasion. As the commencement exercises began, members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 7316 Color Guard of Caswell County and American Legion Post 89 of Caswell County presented the nations colors.

Antonio Foster, PCC Board of Trustees Chair, offered a charge and words of encouragement to the graduates.

“Today, as you stand on the threshold of graduation, I commend each of you for your resilience, perseverance and dedication,” Foster said. “Your journey has been marked by countless hours of hard work, sacrifice and unwavering commitment to your goals. Now, as you prepare to step into the world beyond these walls, you carry with you not only your certificates, diplomas, or degrees but also the knowledge, skills and experiences that will empower you to make a difference in the communities you serve.”

Foster also acknowledged Gordon Powell, Chairman of the Person County Board of Commissioners, for being an advocate for education and community development throughout Person County. Under Powell’s leadership, the Person County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved to move forward with the purchase of the former Carolina Pride carwash building at their February 2024 meeting to house PCC programs. The building will become the Center for Health, Advanced Technology and Trades (CHATT). Foster presented Powell with a plaque to express PCC’s gratitude.

“Under Chairman Powell’s leadership, Person County has seen remarkable progress and growth, ensuring that opportunities for education and advancement are accessible to all,” Foster said. “His commitment to fostering collaboration between local government and educational institutions like ours has been instrumental in driving positive change.”

Phillip Allen, a member of PCC’s Board of Trustees, delivered the keynote address to the graduates. Allen has been instrumental in advocating for CHATT, not only for the success of PCC, but for the growth of Person County and surrounding communities. He addressed the graduates on the importance of “showing up” for themselves and other people or causes they care about.

“The future is yours so take care of it by taking care of yourself,” Allen said. “The way you start is the way you have always done things. You show up.”

“Graduations are the greatest of celebrations because diplomas are not given away, they must be earned,” Allen said. Each of you earned it and not only did you have to do the work, but you had to study and sacrifice and persist to complete the work and you had to complete the work in a successful manner.”

Before graduates were called to receive their degrees, diplomas or certificate, Dr. Pamela G. Senegal, PCC President, announced PCC’s 2024 Academic Excellence Award recipient, Maci Mize. This award is given to one student from each of the 58 community colleges from the North Carolina Community College System and recognizes outstanding academia.

Mize, who would later be announced as earning her Associate in Science degree, will also graduate from Person Early College for Innovation and Leadership (PECIL) later this month. Mize says that her experience at PCC has been one of full support and encouragement. With the education she received at PCC, she plans to continue to pursue her passion for wildlife conservation.

As the graduates moved their tassels from right to left, they were announced as alumni of PCC. Overall, 291 degrees, diplomas and certificates were awarded to the PCC class of 2024. To watch the entire commencement ceremony, visit www.piedmontcc.edu/commencement.

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