For some students, its circumstances, not pomp

Al White says diplomas may not be the ticket that they once were

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Royal blue caps and gowns, overzealous speeches and camera flashes will fill Steamboat Christian Center Friday when graduates from Colorado Mountain College's Alpine Campus commemorate their two-year educational tenure.

About 70 students will walk down the aisle, shake hands with the dean of learning services and know that college finally is over for some anyway.

Some have found satisfaction with the level and amount of education they have received thus far.

Others will continue down the road to larger universities or colleges in hopes of finding a career in areas that interest them.

Although 87 degrees will be handed out or mailed to recipients, only about 70 students will walk.

Noelle Brigden, valedictorian, said overcoming life's obstacles at a young age has inspired her to be where she is today.

After dropping out of high school at 14, Brigden said she had no incentive to go back to school until she broke her back in the Army, and attended CMC on the Army's tab.

"I didn't think I had the background to compete in school," Brigden said. "But after my first semester, I fell in love with it."

Having never reaped benefits from school before, she has now seen the successes of college. And she's attacking it with all she's got.

Brigden will be one of those graduates that continues her education at the University of Denver, studying international studies under the Four Plus One master's program.

Degrees earned at CMC this year range from an associate in arts, business, science, resort management, criminal justice, among others, and certificates include accounting, business and criminal justice.

Olive Morton, director of community education at CMC, said the degrees are well spread out, the same as years before.

"They've been a very good class, very involved with students activities and the community," Morton said.

On stage for graduation, the dean of learning services, Steve Rice, will sit in for the president of CMC; Rob Dick from CMC's board of trustees; Robert Ritschel, dean of CMC; Brian Hoza, assistant campus dean of student services; Larry Lucas, assistant campus dean of academics; state Rep. Al White and Morton will either speak, hand out awards or introduce graduates and other speakers.

White was elected in November to represent the 56th District and was appointed to the State Education Committee in January.

Diploma delivery Colorado Mountain College Alpine Campus spring commencement ceremony at 7:30 p.m. May 4 at the Steamboat Christian Center. State Rep. Al White will be the keynote speaker. Noelle Kateri Brigden will present a farewell address. A reception in Willett Hall on the Alpine campus will immediately follow the processional.

White said he has not yet written the speech he will give to the graduating students, however, he said he believes in Carpe Diem.

Fortunately, seizing the day helped White get where he is now, but he said he couldn't have done it without setting attainable goals.

"Do what you enjoy. If you're driven by passion, everything else will fall into place," White said. "Attitude, often times, is a reflection of how life goes."

Just home from Vietnam and living the life of a ski bum in the mid 1970s, White said he looked at the owner of a ski shop where he worked and thought, "That job looks appealing."

Though he never graduated from college, he said he doesn't regret not going back.

Although the feeling of not attaining a degree still lingers in his mind, he would have missed out on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

"Bill Gates and I graduated from the same school the drop out," White said, laughing. "I think he's changed the public's perception" that you don't need a college degree to be successful.

White said community colleges, such as CMC, can offer high school students an opportunity to get ahead before entering college.

"As a rural legislator, we need to do as much as we can to foster higher education in rural Colorado," White said.

With the economy taking a downward spiral, White said he's skeptical of the job opportunities for graduates.

Students cannot think they will graduate from college and get a $75,000 job with a high-tech computer company, White said.

"I think we've just hit the top of the roller coaster and we're headed down. But I'm not sure how far and steep that's going to be," White said. "I have sympathy for these kids. The market has changed."

Brigden said she will rely on the hard work that has carried her thus far.

"It was a good experience, but it wasn't pleasant," Brigden said of being dropping at and working while still in her mid teens. "With hard work, you can work with the shortcomings of the past. If I can do it, anyone can."

The CMC 2001 graduating class is:

Associate in Arts:

Lucas Mosher Adams

Brandon W. Amato*

Justin L. Barker

Lizabeth Keri Berens

Mary Lynn Brazelton

Noelle Kateri Brigden**

Greta R. Burles

Caleb S. Christenson*

Alison M. Christopherson*

Emilie Jane Hartung Crider*

Barbara A. Deutsch

Jennifer M. Doherty

Janelle A. Erhard*

Dan L. Farmer

Jennie Stowell Frazer

Clifford E. Froelich

Tabor Augustine Grau

Tricia Euresti Heilner

Rebekah M. Jacobs

Kelly Corinne Knight

Autumn Beth Lachendro

Christian Robert LeVan*

Peter J. Martin

Barbara A. Miles*

Tara M. Miller*

Mark William Maurice Nelson

Jason S. O'Dea

Bobbie Luckett Owens

Frank Edward Polniak, Jr.*

Adrienne L. Roberts*

Ryan L. Simms

Stephanie June Smith

Sarah L. Steneman*

Charles A. Tauge

Jarrod M. Trump*

John J. Tuscher

Sally Marie Wendorf

Stephen Paul Zurek

Associate in Applied Science Microcomputer Support Specialist:

Anna-Karin Glipe*

Carol A. Gormley

Certificate of Occupational Proficiency Accounting:

Deborah Hall-Jenkins

Certificate of Occupational Proficiency Business:

Sally Marie Wendorf

Certificate of Occupational Proficiency Criminal Justice: CLETA:

Robert Preston Carochi

Gerard John Geis

Kurtis B. Luster

Benjamin F. Riley

Robert E. Widmann

Jared J. Zick

Associate in Arts Business Concentration:

Emily E. Hajny

Shannon Marie Paglia

Stephanie June Smith

Masaru Takada

Jamie Marie Vaughan

Associate in Science:

David E. Bartle

Ashley Jane Berger*

Marida A. Carmona

Amorette Angelica Delgado

Barbara A. Deutsch

Dan L. Farmer

Kristofer Willson Fowler

Neil A. Howard*

Jason W. Jameson

Osama Khader*

Anna L. Lewis

James Bruce Neal

Associate in General Studies:

Janette L. Ledbetter

Frank Shields Pittman III*

Ryan S. Zeller

Associate in Applied Science Criminal Justice:

Dwight Paul Murphy*

Associate in Applied Science Marketing Management: Ski Business:

Jason Donald Audette

William Joseph Baur IV

Ann P. Chadbourne

Jason Paul Davis

Andrew K. Eugster

Matthew J. Ferry

Brock A. Fiedler*

Todd C. Givnish*

Nathan D. Gridley

Arthur B. Hallenberg

Chris B. Kasper

Scott J. Maughan

Taras George Popel*

Edward Tappen Stammel

Sarah L. Steneman*

Associate in Applied Science: Resort Management:

Shawn R. Fielding

Kelli Marie Illum

Carl-Marcus F. Schultz

  • Member of Phi Theta Kappa, Alpha Rho Kappa Chapter
  • *Class Valedictorian

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