Commencement 1000×400

Montgomery College recognized the class of 2017 in commencement ceremonies May 19 on the Rockville Campus.

“Today we celebrate the fortitude that it takes to be committed to an ambitious goal and this has been a valuable one. Education sets you up for something very powerful…and it expands your possibilities in the world,” Dr. DeRionne Pollard, president of Montgomery College, told the new graduates.

Here now are some of the stories of the 3,000 members of the class of 2017 as they make their way out into that world:

Jennifer Fletcher

Jennifer Fletcher

Communication major Jennifer Fletcher has “big plans” aspiring to work at the United Nations. For now, she is headed to the University of Maryland at Shady Grove. “So many different cultures mixed all into one; diversity is the main reason I loved going here,” she said.

Taanya Puthran

Taanya Puthran

Honors student Taanya Puthran graduated with a degree in biology; she plans to transfer to the University of Maryland and hopes to be a dentist. At Montgomery College, Puthran was part of the Montgomery Scholars Program, a selective-admission two-year interdisciplinary honors program. “We had beautiful days with the other scholars…it was an involved and intricate learning experience with multidisciplinary classes. It was a very nurturing experience.”

Benardette Musau

Benardette Musau

Benardette Musau returned to school after a 35-year absence. She says the first few weeks were tough. “I didn’t know which way to go and one day I said ‘I quit.’” Luckily, a counselor overheard and helped Musau get back on track right then and there. Throughout her MC career, Musau says, “Whenever I felt down, my counselors told me I could do it.” She plans to continue her education and hopes to work with people who are homeless or have mental challenges.

Danny Cruz

Danny Cruz

Danny Cruz majored in general studies. His plans for the future won’t take him far and you might just see him yes, cruising, around town: he hopes to serve on the Montgomery County Police force.

Marguerite Fitch

Marguerite Fitch

Marguerite Fitch, an elementary education major, will continue her work at Towson University at Shady Grove. She plans to earn a dual certification in classroom teaching and special education. Fitch was part of the first-ever graduating class of CREATE (Culturally Responsive Educators Aspiring for Teaching Excellence) a program for aspiring teachers which provides strong support, advising, mentoring, and interaction with four-year schools. “I have never really had a close relationship with teachers before this; the professors in the cohort became mentors to me.”

Patrick (Phat) Pham

Patrick (Phat) Pham

Patrick (Phat) Pham, a double major in architecture and construction management, plans to attend Texas A&M University to continue his studies. Of Montgomery College, he says, “My professors were awesome and helped me a lot.”

Click on each image to get a larger view, and watch highlights of the commencement ceremony.