By: Emily Guiles
Muskegon Community College prides itself on their graduates and this years grads were no different. The ceremony started off with students in the choir showing off their vocal talent by singing I’ve got the Music in Me. The band then played the star spangled banner to begin the ceremony.
Trustee reverend Ann Oaks delivered a prayer for the futures of the graduates and also the invocation to start off. Followed by Secretary of the Board of Trustees Nancy Frye, who welcomed all those participating and delivered the story of a close friend, currently passed, in hopes of inspiring incoming students and graduates to follow and find their mission in life.
President Dale Nesbary then spoke to the graduates directly and stated, “all of you are role models,”. Nesbary also reiterated his passion for MCC and its motto, Start Stay Succeed. Which he believes all the graduates possess, and have embodied.
Apparent in all Muskegon Community College functions is the diversity in the demographics of all the students, this was especially apparent regarding this years two 2015 commencement speakers, Senelisiwe Nyoni Simpson and Ashley Jagnecki.
Simpson explained that her life was not always as comfortable as it is now. Growing up in central Zimbabwe, the fourth child out of ten, and her father’s untimely death stopped her college aspirations in its tracks. She received no reprieve when she married her first husband who was physically and mentally abusive. However, a chance meeting with a Zimbabwean member of Aglow International, an interdenominational organization, which led to Simpsons involvement in a US conference. Simpson acquired a student visa and began her journey to bring her two daughters to America. In 2009, her daughters Christine and Monica received documentation to travel and reside in the US. Simpson remarried after her husband divorced her. After her life was back on track Simpson decided to renew her childhood dream of going to college. This graduation year Simpson graduated with her LPN diploma and license and her daughters followed her example and are both on the path to becoming nurses at MCC.
The second speaker, Ashley Jagnecki, partook in Early College of Muskegon County (ECMC), in her sophomore year in high school. This program included Jagnecki taking college courses as a junior and senior and a 13th year of school at MCC. Jagnecki’s advanced courses helped her gain an internship and later a full-time job in credit services at a local financial company. Jagnecki’s main focus is entrepreneurial studies and now manages the Hollar Handyman service in Muskegon.