CLINTON -- Pomp and Circumstance played for 195 Clinton Community College graduates Tuesday evening, the 72nd class to earn diplomas from the institution.
The ceremony at Clinton High School's Yourd Gymnasium was attended by friends and family of the graduates along with college officials and dignitaries congratulating the now former students as they begin their careers or further their education.
CCC President Karen Vickers commended the high-acheiving class for their efforts to make it to Tuesday's ceremony, no matter their circumstances.
"We are proud of the accomplishments of each of our graduates, and thankful we had an opportunity to work with them," Vickers said. "We're looking forward to their next steps and know that whether they enter the workforce or transfer to a four-year college or university, they are well-prepared."
The graduating class heard from fellow students Jeremy Meyermann, Julian Bradour, and Brandy Till. The students recounted their time at CCC, both on campus and online.
Bradour recalled his early days at the college and how his time at CCC shaped him.
"There is no way I would have imagined being this person I am now," Bradour said. "I really had no idea how much of a journey this would be.
"College has been one of the most frustrating things I've ever done, but it was worthwhile," Bradour said. "It was honestly one of the few times in my life that I felt at home."
Meyermann, who graduated with an Associate of Arts degree, told fellow students and audience members that his tenure at the college allowed him not only to grow in his education, but also to grow as an outgoing person.
"I have heard a lot of these speeches, but up until this year never thought I would be doing one myself," Meyermann said. "Whether that was due to fear or lack of interest, nevertheless I am up here speaking today.
"I'm not saying I'm not nervous being up here, because I am," Meyermann said. "But it shows that we can do things we thought were far from our reach; that we can reach even our farthest goals if we reach far enough."
Till, who earned an Associate of Arts degree while still a student at Bellevue High School, used an analogy referring to the fact that it only takes one degree for water to boil -- that degree from 211 to 212. That one degree, in turn, coming in the form of that from CCC, can make all the difference in her success and that of her fellow graduates, Till said.
"This extra step, this extra degree, separates the good from the great," Till said. "We have all worked hard to get to 212 degrees. Anybody can do this. Hard work, extra effort, and that one small degree can push us all on to bigger things."