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    Mt. Hood Community College Class of 2024 ready to ‘make mark on world’

    By Christopher Keizur,


    East Multnomah County’s community college held a commencement ceremony for all sorts of graduates.

    There is no one type of Saint, rather the Mt. Hood Community College Class of 2024 was filled with diverse students from a multitude of backgrounds, disciplines and circumstances.

    The 920 graduates:

    Hail from the United States, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Canada and the Ivory CoastThe youngest is 16The oldest is 7032 of the graduates are veterans550 are first-generation college graduates, nearly 60% of the class

    “Mt. Hood Community College is such a great place because of our diversity,” said Dr. Lisa Skari, college president. “We honor cultures, languages and backgrounds that we are proud to have as part of our college.”

    “Thank you, thank you, thank you for choosing Mt. Hood Community College,” she added. “Your presence made this a better place. You will always be Saints.”

    All of that took centerstage Saturday morning June 15, during MHCC’s 57th commencement ceremony in honor of the Class of 2024, held out on the football field in front of a packed stadium filled with cheering loved ones.

    Even a little rain couldn’t dampen spirits. The heaviest downpour was during the “pomp and circumstance” precession, with graduates hiding beneath ponchos and umbrellas, and holding onto caps for dear life.

    “A beautiful day to graduate,” yelled out one graduate.

    “Welcome to graduating in Oregon,” another laughed.

    When they got to their seats, they used ponchos to keep from getting wet and then dove into the ceremony.

    Several students gave opening welcomes in different languages, and then the MHCC choir, under the direction of Kevin Lambert, sang the National Anthem.

    “It is my great honor to address my fellow Mt. Hood Community College Saints,” Skari said. “Your hard work and desire to learn will inspire future generations.”

    “Go forth and make your mark on the world,” she added.

    Ayla Lemons was the GED commencement speaker. She shared how it is never too late to pursue your education goals, no matter what life has dealt. Lemons was a single mother and had just overcome addiction and homelessness when she eyed earning her degree.

    “I had this overwhelming need to further my education,” Lemons said. “Every person here is capable of facing challenges head-on. Your successes is a testament to your hard work and perseverance.”

    The other class speaker was Joy Njenga, the associated students of MHCC vice president.

    “Today is a day of celebration, reflection, and ‘did that really just happen,’” she said. “We see now that we aren’t just graduates, but leaders, innovators and change makers.”

    “Don’t let anyone say you aren’t good enough,” Nienga said. “Use your knowledge to make a positive impact on your community and beyond.”

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