Impacting the Future through Education

On Saturday, May 18, the campus of Lorain County Community College was absolutely buzzing with excitement and pride for the class of 2019.

More than 620 students marched in our ceremony, representing a total class of 1,641 graduates who earned 2,083 associate degrees and certificates. An additional 353 students earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees through LCCC’s University Partnership, bringing the grand total of degrees and certificates awarded to an astounding 2,436! What a true honor it was for me to shake the hand of each graduate as they received their diploma.

The day was made even more extraordinary by the inspiring words from keynote speaker Allan Golston, president of the United States Program for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Golston encouraged the graduates not to wait to pay forward their success, but to begin right away impacting the lives of others. In his new post on Medium, Golston shared the impact the LCCC Class of 2019 had on him during his visits to our campus.

Allan Golston stands at the podium during his keynote speech.
Allan Golston encourages the class of 2019 to pay forward the lessons they’ve learned.

The graduates represent a promising future for Lorain County and our region. The LCCC District Board of Trustees recently adopted a new strategic plan that includes the promise of 10,000 individuals earning a degree or certificate by the year 2025. We call it 10,000 Degrees of Impact and it’s all about making Lorain County future-ready.  Studies show that higher education dramatically increases a person’s chance move up the economic ladder, making a college degree a powerful tool to break the cycle of poverty for families. (For more on this, read my blog about higher education and upward mobility.)

The 2019 graduates represent the first class to be counted toward our new goal. What an impact these individuals will have on our world!

Julian Colbert

The impact will be made by students like Julian Colbert, an 18-year-old senior at Clearview High School who earned two associate degrees through LCCC’s College Credit Plus program.  Julian will transfer to The Ohio State University in the fall with a full scholarship as a Morrill Scholar. He is one of 136 high school students who earned LCCC degrees this year through College Credit Plus and Lorain County Early College High School.

Daymiah and Jeremiah Leyva

Another high school student who earned a degree is Daymiah Leyva. She’s one of 21 students from Lorain High School who earned an associate degree through College Credit Plus. Daymiah had the uniquely amazing experience to earn her degree at the same time her father, Jeremiah, earned his bachelor’s degree through LCCC’s University Partnership. A few years ago, Jeremiah decided to make education a priority in his life and he came to meet with me to talk about returning to LCCC. His determination to create a prosperous future for his family was an inspiration, and I was pleased to help him get back on track toward his goals. Over the past four years, Jeremiah and Daymiah inspired each other to strive for the best and I know they will continue to push each other to achieve their dreams.

Brandy Spradlin

One family making a big impact is the Spradlin family. Brandy earned her first degree in 2018 – when she graduated at the same time her daughter, Ashley, earned an associate degree through Lorain County Early College High School. This year, Brandy earned her associate degree nursing alongside her son, Chase, who earned his associate degree through Early College. Brandy and her family are a true inspiration and it’s clear that higher education will have a tangible impact on their futures.

With graduates like Julian, Daymiah, Jeremiah, Brandy, Chase and so many more impacting our community, I know that the future is in good hands. As the class of 2019 inspires others to reach for their goals, I have no doubt that our community will be celebrating the graduation of 10,000 more LCCC students by 2025.


What are you favorite graduation memories? Tell me on Twitter.