Hundreds of Yavapai College students reached a significant crossroad on their life journeys this spring — completing an associate’s degree or earning a career credential — and paused to celebrate their achievements during traditional commencement ceremonies May 15 at Findlay Toyota Center.
Students celebrated success in nursing, computer and physical sciences, education, electronics, winemaking, horticulture, animal care, performing and visual arts, paramedicine, welding and justice studies, among others academic areas.
YC President Dr. Lisa Rhine told the graduates she as thrilled to be celebrating with them in person after “more than a year of isolation, virtual communication and distance.”
Emphasizing the value and power of dreams, Rhine said, “Never let it be said that to dream is a waste of one’s time. For dreams are our realities in waiting. In dreams we plant the seeds of our future. Dreams motivate and inspire. Dreams cause us to persevere under difficult circumstances and dreams create a focus in our lives. Dreams are realized at community colleges.”
Brian Moultrup, the morning commencement student speaker and an aspiring U.S. Army Chaplain, shared that YC was his fifth try at college and the first successful one. He said he suffered years of addiction fueled by a profound belief he had nothing to offer the world.
“Friends, I am here because of you, the YC family. I am alive because someone answered the phone when I called. I am alive because my family and friends listened and loved me when I thought they didn’t … Maybe today is the beginning of a new chapter for you or you’ve cracked the cover to begin writing a new book. Either way, I encourage you, answer the phone when someone calls, listen when someone cries out and love each other well because opportunity isn’t something we have to do, it’s something we get to do.’
Brittany Thomas, the afternoon commencement student speaker, said she found in YC the “home” she was looking for after years of homeschooling and frequent moves with her U.S. Coast Guard family. An honors student and All-Arizona Academic Team scholar, Brittany described discovering YC online and then visiting and falling in love with the campus as akin to a life miracle.
“Yavapai College truly put the community in community college, and I felt like a member of their family. I felt that way then, and I still hold that sentiment today.”