Gov. Sam Brownback congratulated students on achieving a major milestone Friday, during Barton Community College’s 43rd commencement ceremony.
A crowd filled the Physical Education Building, where the governor offered several pieces of advice to the graduates, starting with, “Always, always, always listen to your mother.” He also encouraged them to be lifelong learners, people of integrity and pursuers of dreams. “The why of a good dream is because somebody else benefits,” he said, encouraging them to stay focused on the present moment.
“Develop your head and your heart – your mind and your soul,” the governor continued. “Look for a mentor who has lived life the way you’d like to live life.”
Prior to commencement, Gov. Brownback met with a diverse group of Barton students representing the college’s many offerings, from students who earned their degrees online, to those who earned them from within prison.
In addition to recognizing the collective accomplishments of graduates, the ceremony recognized outstanding individuals. Phi Theta Kappa’s honorees were Michelle Klepper and Michelle Miller. The Outstanding Graduates for 2013, Jessica Dawn Lopez of Ellis and Mayra Selene Sanchez Lujan of Great Bend, each addressed the audience.
Lopez is the daughter of Melisa and Russell Smith. She was involved in the Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society and served as the chapter’s vice president. She also served as the secretary for student government and was a student athletic trainer. She participated in Barton’s Early Childhood Education Fair and earlier this semester she was honored as one of Barton’s Homecoming Queen candidates. She plans to transfer to Wichita State University and continue her studies in Early Childhood Education with a minor in Sign Language.
Lopez supplied her fellow graduates with her three rules to success.
“One, show up physically and mentally. Two, do what is asked of you. Three, try your best.”
Sanchez Lujan is the daughter of Rosa and Arturo Sanchez. While attending Barton, she participated on the Barton Dance Team, and as a member of the Hispanic American Leadership Organization. She was involved in numerous community service projects. She is currently a candidate for the Multicultural Academic Program at Kansas State University and for an ambassadorship working with Hispanic students at KSU. She has been admitted to the KSU bio-chemistry program.
Sanchez Lujan sought to instill inspiration in her classmates with her closing statement.
“Your voice is power,” she said. “Let your voice be heard. Our time is now.”