Great Bay Community College grads told to prepare themselves for life

05/18/2014 by Doug Alden

PORTSMOUTH — Before bidding farewell to the Class of 2014, Great Bay Community College President Wildolfo Arvelo advised the soon-to-be graduates that the degrees they were about to receive Saturday were milestones marking the beginning of another journey.

There will always be more to learn.

“The economy is improving and more companies are hiring. But I ask that you not let your guard down. Continue your education,” Arvelo said.

Some students were planning to do just that, taking their associate’s degree and credits earned and pursuing a bachelor’s degree. For those who had no plans to return to the classroom, Arvelo’s advice was the same.

“Do everything in your power to prepare yourself for that job you want by learning about the company, its products and mission,” he said.

Continuing education was a common theme, mentioned by keynote speaker U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, and Class of 2014 speaker Natalie Landry. “What you’ve all demonstrated is that you understand learning is the key to success in today’s economy,” Shaheen said. “While you’ve learned specialized knowledge and job skills here at Great Bay, perhaps even more important, you’ve also learned how to adapt to changing circumstances and conditions.”

Shaheen noted how much her own plans changed from her days as an English major planning on a career in teaching.

Landry, a Portsmouth native receiving her associate’s degree in teacher preparation and a certificate in special education, also received the outstanding student president’s award from Arvelo, who noted she was graduating with a GPA of 3.65 after being fully involved in Great Bay activities outside the classroom like student government.

Landry congratulated her classmates and wished them well in whatever their next step was.

“All that work has paid off. We are here today,” she said. “We are writing the final chapter of our Great Bay Community College story. However, the most important part of the story isn’t the ending but the journey that gets us there.”

New Hampshire Union Leader