HCC grads move on to next chapter
Hundreds of Haywood Community College graduates finished one chapter to begin another as they graduated from the college Friday evening.
Receiving certificates, diplomas, or degrees, the graduates reached one goal and will now enter the workforce, continue their education, or pursue other lifelong goals.
Haywood Early College graduates received both a high school diploma and an Associate degree.
Family members, friends, and loved ones were on hand at both of HCC’s graduation ceremonies to witness this milestone in the lives of the graduates. Sometimes family members were side-by-side graduating together. This was true for father and son Keith and Joseph Snyder, who attended HCC together for the past two years.
Keith studied electronics engineering and his son studied mechanical engineering.
"It was fun being together," Keith said. "I worked on my projects, I worked on his projects. And he worked on some of mine."
Joesph is hoping to find a job working with machine racing in Mooresville, and Keith is keeping his options open, but plans to take on something in the electronics field.
Shayla Knuckles received her diploma from the Haywood Early College and an associates degree in medical administration. While Knuckles was all smiles after graduating, after taking a couple weeks off, Knuckles said she might further her education with some online courses.
"It's going to be a new change not going to school every day, so I'll have to get a little adjusted," Knuckles said. "But I'm looking forward to it."
"It's the start of a new adventure," said Doris McKinney, Knuckles' mother.
Dana Claire, who graduated cum laude with an associate degree in applied science in crafts, can't wait to get started on opening her own business.
"All of us worked so hard and we created our own family," Claire said. "It's sad to leave but it's also incredible that we get to put that to use and produce beautiful things."
Paige Jenkins, who graduated with associates in medical office administration and coding, already has a front desk job lined up at a nearby medical facility.
"It was a lot of fun and I learned a lot, and now I'm going to the beach," Jenkins said with a laugh.
Right after the ceremony ended, Kinley Shiane Barton shared an emotional hug with her cousin Laura Barton Muniz. Kinley graduated with an HEC diploma and an associate degree in arts.
"I'm about to cry I'm so happy," Kinley said. "I'm the first one to graduate college in my family and I'm overwhelmed. It's a lot of expectations, but I'm happy."
Kinley is planning to attend UNC Pembroke in the fall to study to become a social worker.
During the ceremony, HCC President Barbara Parker congratulated all of the graduates and encouraged them to pursue lifelong learning.
"Education really does change everything," Parker said. "We wish you all the best and congratulations on your accomplishments."
HCC offers many programs of study. For more information, call 627-4500 or visit on the Internet.