Graduates streamed across the stage to get their diplomas during the 51st Merced College commencement, where the school honored about 1,100 on Friday.
Nearly 895 degrees and 208 certificates of achievement were handed out during the ceremony. Eight students were recognized with Superintendent Honors for completing at least 36 units with a 4.0 GPA. In addition, 85 Merced College students graduated with honors.
The Los Banos campus honored about 100 of its graduates at the ceremony.
One of the 100 from Los Banos, Annish Jimenez, readied in the parking lot before the ceremony kicked off. She had “RN” marked on her mortarboard, a reference to the schooling she completed on her way to becoming a registered nurse. “We worked really hard,” the 28-year-old said.
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The ceremony meant much to her, she said, and to her family. Her loved ones had been very supportive through a grueling five-year process, she said.
About 15 family members sat in the stands to watch her walk across the stage. “It’s not just for me, it’s for all of them,” she said.
Also proud to be completing this chapter of his life was Brett Dawkins, 25, of Merced. He said he finished his associate degree in child development because he wants to work with developmentally delayed youngsters. “It’s another step forward,” he said about the graduation.
A handful of relatives watched him from the bleachers. Education is important in the Dawkins family, he said.
He plans to move on to California State University, Stanislaus, to earn his bachelor’s degree. The day was extra special for him, he said, because his daughter, Sophia Marie, turned 1.
State Sen. Anthony Cannella of the 12th District delivered the commencement address, titled “Tenacity.”
And Leonel Farias, who graduated with degrees in general agriculture and agriculture business, gave the keynote address: “How Will Our Lives be Remembered?”
The ceremony gave special recognition to graduates who are veterans of the armed forces.