Even though the caps may be uncomfortable to wear, they’re a sign to everyone what the students at Manatee Technical College have accomplished, according to Samantha Illes, one of the student speakers at graduation.
“But these hats do not convey what we are yet to achieve,” said Illes, who graduated from the patient care technician program on Monday.
Illes was joined by almost 200 other MTC students inside Cantrell Hall on Monday night, as the college hosted a graduation ceremony for students in the technical programs. MTC director Doug Wagner estimated about 1,000 students graduated from MTC this year. Many of the programs host their own graduation ceremonies, but Monday marked the largest graduation ceremony for the college this year.
Programs honored on Monday included air conditioning, automation, cosmetology, digital design, massage therapy and welding, among others.
As a student coming out of high school, Illes said she learned quite a few lessons at MTC, including the need to be on time. She also learned about accountability.
“Everything we do matters to somebody and affects everybody,” she said.
Heather Eischer, a graduate of the administrative office specialist program, talked about the different paths graduates took to get to Monday night. Each graduate carried a unique story with them to get to their seat on Monday, Eischer said. For Eischer, it wasn’t always an easy path, as she struggles with a chronic illness.
“Whatever the story, they all led us to this accomplishment,” Eischer said.
John Ziemnicki, the chair of the MTC board of governors, lauded the graduates’ achievements, including 24 students who were recently named National SkillsUSA champions.
“This is one of my very favorite functions to come to,” he said.
Separate graduations were held for the college’s dental assisting, law enforcement, culinary and GED programs throughout the month of June.