Jennifer Linscott has presented the presidential achievement award.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — More than 100 students became Mildred Elley alumni after crossing the Barrington Stage during Thursday's graduation ceremony.
First to address the graduates was Pittsfield Campus President Annette Jeffes, who asked the graduates to reflect on their time at Mildred Elley.
"Graduation is one of the greatest times in our lives, and it gives you the opportunity to stop and celebrate the culmination of all of your efforts and to truly absorb your new status and start with a new chapter in your life," Jeffes said.
Students graduated with certificates in massage therapy, accounting systems specialist, paralegal studies, cosmetology, clinical medical assistant, medical office assistant, early childhood education, practical nursing and network administration and computer security.
Clinical Medical Assistant Graduate Kinnie Taylor then told her fellow graduates her story and walked them through her educational journey.
Taylor said she was a high school drop out and young mother who continually worked dead-end jobs. After getting married she turned her focus to her family however after a divorce she found herself questioning her life.
"After 23 years of marriage, I didn’t know how to do anything else…I applied for several jobs that I was not quite qualified for," she said. "I remember I was sitting in my car one day and I started crying because I had just been rejected again and I happened to look up and there was a bus that went by, and this is a true story, it said Mildred Elley on it."
Taylor said she went home and after some research applied and although she dropped out and moved south for a while, she eventually returned and reenrolled and is now employed at Berkshire Health Systems.
"We all have a story, some more difficult than others but we can’t allow that to dictate our futures," she said. "I am so excited not only for myself but every single graduate here tonight. It is time to start our careers at whatever level or age we are at."
Taylor’s presentation was followed by John McGrath, president of Mildred Elley College, who said true leaders possess courage, passion, inspiration and creativity and lauded the graduates’ determination.
John McGrath, president of Mildred Elley, said true leaders possess courage, passion, inspiration, and creativity.
"There is a simple rule for what determines leaders: if the front door is closed go to the back door. If the back door is closed you go through the window and if you have to you cut a hole in the damn roof," he said. "You have to be able to get into the house."
He congratulated the graduates and noted many of them faced numerous challenges and responsibilities during their time at Mildred Elley.
"Many of you did this while juggling the competing demands of family, work and school," he said. "Despite all of the obstacles and times, it would have been easy to give up you said no, and you have earned this success today."
Before handing out the certificates to Chairwoman of the Mildred Elley Board Faith Takes presented graduate Jennifer Linscott with the Presidential Achievement Award.
She added that the graduates are her dream.
"I was a dreamer…and I am still dreamer today and I dreamt of all of you sitting here today in front of me at graduation having changed your lives and about to make such a difference in the lives of others," she said.
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