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More than 500 PJC students graduate spring semester 2017

Published or Revised May 18, 2017

PJC Spring 2017 Graduation

At top, Logan Thomas, president of the Student Government Association at Paris Junior College, delivered the invocation. Center: PJC alumna and current Drama & Speech Instructor Robyn Huizinga performed the song, “For Good.” Below, PJC President Dr. Pamela Anglin presents the Distinguished Service Award to dual winners Heather Collins and Mengkheang (Sam) Chek.

The west stands of Noyes Stadium was packed as Paris Junior College held its 92nd spring graduation ceremony Friday evening, May 12. PJC had 512 students graduating from PJC with a certificate or associate degree, and nearly 260 students chose to participate in the ceremony.

The ceremony opened with an invocation from Student Government Association president Logan Thomas. Stephen Schwartz’s song, “For Good,” was performed by PJC alumna and Drama & Speech Instructor Robyn Huizinga.

Among the graduates were students who had received state and national honors in their degree fields and ranged in age from 17 to 77 years. They were 48 percent male and 52 percent female. The graduates represented 30 different Texas counties, 21 different states, and the countries of the Bahamas, Germany, Japan, and Nepal.

“In this year’s graduating class, we have 38 students receiving their associate degrees who will graduate from high school in the next two to three weeks,” said PJC President Dr. Pam Anglin. “Of these, 31 are from Quinlan Ford High School, two are from Miller Grove High School, two are home schooled and one from Greenville Christian, North Lamar, and Prairiland high schools.”

The students took college courses while attending high school and received high school and college credit for the coursework.

The high graduate numbers from Quinlan Ford H.S. stem from a partnership that started in 2009. The ISD pays tuition, fees and books for their students and buses them to the PJC-Greenville Center early on weekdays, returning them later to the high school.

The Distinguished Service Award, PJC’s highest student honor, was announced by Associate Vice President for Student Access and Success Sheila Reece. This award has been presented annually to a PJC graduate since 1935, when it was first given to Louis B. Williams, who later became president of Paris Junior College. The Award recognizes academic achievement and service to PJC and the community and is given to an outstanding graduating student. PJC faculty and professional staff determine the winner.

The five nominees for 2017 included Mengkheang (Sam) Chek of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Heather Collins of Paris, Michael Gunter of Navarre, Fla., Thomas Jeffries of Flower Mound, and Raven Maxwell of Cooper.

This year two students received an identical number of votes. Both Chek and Collins received the Distinguished Service Award.

Chek is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, serves as Vice-President of the Teacher Education Student Organization, and is a recipient of the Eugene “Gene” Thielman Scholarship. He is a math tutor for the Math and Science Department. A graduate of Zaman International School in Cambodia, Chek plans to pursue his degree at Texas A&M University - Commerce in computer science to become a programmer and teacher.

Collins attends PJC on a drama scholarship and serves as stage manager for the department. She is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, President of Delta Psi Omega, and has been on the President’s List for academic excellence for three semesters. Collins volunteers to work at the UIL drama competitions, Dylan’s Drivers and Paris Community Theatre. She was guest speaker at the most recent Sweetheart Soiree fundraiser for the Children’s Advocacy Center in Paris. A graduate of North Lamar High School, she plans to transfer to either Texas Women’s University or Utah State University to pursue her degree in theater with a teaching certificate.

In closing, Dr. Anglin commented that community colleges enroll 72 percent of all freshman in the State of Texas and 78 percent of all students graduating with bachelor degrees have community college hours on their transcript. She encouraged the graduates with a parting quote from the song performed at the beginning of the program and a traditional Irish prayer.

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