Dabney Celebrates Its Spring Graduates

Dabney Celebrates Its Spring Graduates

ABOVE, graduates participating in the Saturday morning session of the Dabney S. Lancaster Community College commencement exercises line up prior to entering the DSLCC Convocation Center. AT LEFT, Bretty Justo of Natural Bridge Station celebrates with husband Hysen and their children following the Saturday afternoon commencement exercises. Justo earned an Associate Degree in Nursing.

Dabney Celebrates Its Spring Graduates

Dabney S. Lancaster Community College observed its spring commencement on Saturday, Sept. 12, in two ceremonies, one held in the morning and the second in the afternoon, in the DSLCC Convocation Center on the Clifton Forge campus.

Guest speaker Nova Wright, who was honored as the recipient of the 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award, sponsored by the DSLCC Educational Foundation, shared her personal story of academic success.

Describing herself as a 10th grade dropout, she found a part-time job at DSLCC as a work study, years after her fourth child was born; earned her GED; began her college career at DSLCC; earned an associate degree, then a bachelor’s degree, and two master’s degrees, one in library information science with a concentration in advanced management of academic libraries and another in education with a concentration in instructional design. She currently serves as the director of the DSLCC Library.

“Although it may seem silly, when I begin something new, something I have no knowledge of, no experience in, I think back to the support that I’ve received from this college, from these faculty members … that’s when I move forward and I take on each new challenge because I know that I’m not alone. I now know that value of an education,” she said.

She credited many members of the staff at DSLCC with encouraging her in her pursuits. She also serves as instructional designer for online teaching and learning, and is an adjunct faculty member for College Success courses.

Despite the rescheduling and separation of commencement exercises - necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic – both ceremonies were celebrations of hard work and accomplishment, said DSLCC President Dr. John Rainone.

“The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic is unlike anything we’ve seen in our lifetime,” he said in his remarks to the graduates and their guests. “I know the transition from face-to-face, in-person learning to online learning in March was likely difficult for some of you. You should hold your heads up high for what you accomplished. Between classes, work, family, being a teacher yourself for your children and life, these few months and the spring semester, were no walk in the park. Literally, we you couldn’t even walk in the park until a few weeks ago.”

A total of 63 graduates walked across the stage to receive diplomas for associate degrees, certificates and career studies certificates, and for the first time, a number of graduates from DSLCC’s Workforce Division, who earned workforce credentials, participated in the ceremony.

“As hard as it has been for students to make this transition, it has also been equally challenging for the faculty to shift their mindset to online and remote instruction,” said Rainone. “Like you, they value the interactions in the classroom, and they miss the face-to-face conversations. They miss you, coming into a classroom laughing, and leaving knowing you learned something new that day.

“Like you, they have had to navigate unfamiliar territory to continue to provide high levels of academic engagement. I could not be more proud of everyone who came together for one purpose: you, the DSLCC student.”

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