Edmonds Community College will celebrate its 51st annual Commencement ceremony at 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 8, at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett.
As the Irish poet William Butler Yeats once said, “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”
“We honor and applaud the hard work, talent, and persistence of our graduates as they begin to realize their unlimited potential,” Edmonds CC Interim President Christina Castorena said. “This achievement is a milestone on the path of their journey of lifelong learning. We know that this is only the beginning for our graduates and anticipate that their success will blaze a trail for future Edmonds CC students.”
In 2017-18, Edmonds CC awarded 1,732 degrees, certificates, diplomas, and GEDs. The youngest graduate is 17, and the oldest is 73.
This year’s student commencement speakers are Martin Douge, 52, and Tina Rajabi, 20.
Speaker Martin Douge returned to school after nearly 30 years in the workforce. After spending years working long hours in the restaurant industry, he decided to make a change and find a career path that would be more sustainable.
Edmonds CC provided Douge with opportunities and the community he needed to make that change and flourish academically and personally. During his first quarter, Douge battled health issues, and he credits his instructors with giving him the motivation and compassion to continue.
“Their ability to be more than teachers can’t be quantified,” Douge said. “They cared about me as a whole person.”
As a self-proclaimed introvert, Douge said the time and attention his Edmonds CC instructors gave to ensure his success both as a student and “as a whole person first” was invaluable. The support he received gave him the courage to continue furthering his education by enrolling in college-level classes.
Douge will be graduating with his GED. He is currently enrolled in classes at Edmonds CC and pursuing an Associate in Applied Science degree in Materials Science.
Douge’s advice to the graduating class, “In life, don’t climb someone else’s ladder; build your own.”
Commencement speaker Tina Rajabi is both talented in and enthusiastic about mathematics, and started the first on-campus Math Club in more than 20 years.
“Math can be challenging sometimes,” Rajabi said, “and often the challenge gets in the way of seeing just how cool it is.”
As a woman and an immigrant to the U.S., Rajabi said language presented a barrier to her education for a time. In 2015, she came to the U.S. from Iran with her family. Rajabi began her journey at Edmonds CC as an English as a Second Language (ESL) student, and eventually tutored other ESL students and now works as a teaching assistant in the math department.
Her accomplishments include: Semi-finalist for the prestigious, national Jack Kent Cooke transfer scholarship; Seattle University’s Mathematics Early Research (SUMmER) program participant, Edmonds CC Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) program member; and Relationships in Science Education (RISE) program member.
Rajabi will be graduating with her Associate in Science degree with a focus in mathematics. She is anticipating acceptance into University of Washington’s mathematics program at the Seattle campus.
Rajabi’s advice to the graduating class, “It’s great to look up to others to grow, but don’t compare yourself to others. Keep working hard and put yourself, and only yourself, in the spotlight of comparison. Be a better ‘you’ today than you were yesterday.”