The Madera and Oakhurst community college centers have promoted their degree and certificate candidates at a commencement ceremony in Madera.
Rusty Rendon and Tina Richardson each received a Student of Note award, which is given to two graduates who overcame significant obstacles for their studies. Richardson excelled in Oakhurst classes while a full-time caregiver. Rendon, who is legally blind, persevered in Madera studies and service despite unexpected and painful surges in eye pressure his final year.
The following were the top 10 graduates, who achieved the highest academic success among their peers while earning an associate degree: Monica Cantu, Mika Kim, Richardson, Arielle Hegr, Morgann Canizalez, Devan Galindo, Angie Cantu-Rolon, Tiny Thuy Villarama, Vouch Leang Meach and Jessica Soria.
Graduate Blanca Luna attained membership in the Alpha Gamma Sigma Honor Society at Thursday’s commencement ceremony at the Madera center.
Keynote speakers included criminalist Tia Spurgeon of the California Department of Justice. Spurgeon shared about her struggles to obtain her higher education, both in Madera and Fresno, during her commencement address. She is a wife, mother and naturalized Hmong refugee who lives in Madera.