Melissa Antonacci accepts her diploma during Saturday's Colorado Mountain College's Alpine Campus graduation at The Steamboat Grand. Antonacci said she is the first member of her family to graduate from college.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Melissa Antonacci accepts her diploma during Saturday's Colorado Mountain College's Alpine Campus graduation at The Steamboat Grand. Antonacci said she is the first member of her family to graduate from college.

Colorado Mountain College's Steamboat grads receive degrees

Ceremony honors more than 100 students

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— With her diploma in hand, 26-year-old Melissa Antonacci was proud to say she was the first person in her family to earn a college degree.

“This is just the beginning of the rest,” Antonacci said.

After receiving her Associate of Science degree during the Colorado Mountain College’s Alpine Campus graduation ceremony at The Steamboat Grand, Antonacci said she was going to pursue her bachelor’s degree and become a geriatric nurse.

Her parents, Steamboat Springs residents Robert and Evlyn Hukriede, attended the ceremony along with Antonacci’s husband, John, and 17-month-old daughter, Charlotte.

“They definitely gave me the motivation to keep going,” Antonacci said. “Their support means the world to me, and it means giving me the stepping stones to move forward with my career and do something that I really want to do.”

She said it was an honor to be the first one in her family to receive a degree. She graduated with honors, too, and was vice president of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society.

“To graduate with honors is an added bonus,” Antonacci said. “It means a lot, and I know that they’re proud of me, so hopefully it will motivate my younger brother who just finished high school to go to college.”

More than 100 students received their degrees this year from CMC’s Alpine Campus. It was Kathryn Olson’s job to get them excited with the welcome address. The Associate of Science graduate at first found that a daunting task, given a student population filled with adrenaline junkies who fly 50 miles per hour down ski hills and those who “huck 360s off a cliff like it’s their job.”

“All I can say is winner, winner, chicken dinner. We made it. We did it. Holy moly, guys, we’re graduating from college,” said Olson, who maintained a 4.0 GPA at CMC.

Associate of Arts graduate Benjamin Saheb gave the farewell address and told students to make decisions that would not repeat history, but would change it.

“Let’s say hello to the rest of our lives,” said Saheb, who was vice president of the school’s Sky Club. “Let’s live it up.”

In addition to the students, the college recognized the campus’ adjunct faculty member of the year, Guadalupe “Lupita” Benitez Hathaway; Kathy Kiser-Miller, the college’s full-time faculty of the year for online learning; and the full-time faculty member of the year, Jennifer le Roux. Le Roux also earned that recognition for all the CMC campuses.

CMC President Stan Jensen was in Steamboat this year to deliver the commencement address.

He told the crowd that CMC would graduate nearly 800 students this year and had a record enrollment across the CMC campuses of 25,182 students.

Jensen told the students to have a clear vision, courage and faith. Those three things made it possible for CMC to soon break ground on a new 60,000-square-foot building and to adopt a four-year bachelor’s degree program that will start next fall, he said.

He encouraged the graduates to visit Monson Hall one last time before it is torn down and to have a clear vision as they moved on from CMC.

“Seeing students graduate is one of the things that reminds me of why I’m doing this,” Jensen said.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247

or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com

After receiving her Associate of Science degree during the Colorado Mountain College’s Alpine Campus graduation ceremony at The Steamboat Grand, Antonacci said she was going to pursue her bachelor’s degree and become a geriatric nurse.

Her parents, Steamboat Springs residents Robert and Evlyn Hukriede, attended the ceremony along with Antonacci’s husband, John, and 17-month-old daughter, Charlotte.

“They definitely gave me the motivation to keep going,” Antonacci said. “Their support means the world to me, and it means giving me the stepping stones to move forward with my career and do something that I really want to do.”

She said it was an honor to be the first one in her family to receive a degree. She graduated with honors, too, and was vice president of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society.

“To graduate with honors is an added bonus,” Antonacci said. “It means a lot, and I know that they’re proud of me, so hopefully it will motivate my younger brother who just finished high school to go to college.”

More than 100 students received their degrees this year from CMC’s Alpine Campus. It was Kathryn Olson’s job to get them excited with the welcome address. The Associate of Science graduate at first found that a daunting task, given a student population filled with adrenaline junkies who fly 50 miles per hour down ski hills and those who “huck 360s off a cliff like it’s their job.”

“All I can say is winner, winner, chicken dinner. We made it. We did it. Holy moly, guys, we’re graduating from college,” said Olson, who maintained a 4.0 GPA at CMC.

Associate of Arts graduate Benjamin Saheb gave the farewell address and told students to make decisions that would not repeat history, but would change it.

“Let’s say hello to the rest of our lives,” said Saheb, who was vice president of the school’s Sky Club. “Let’s live it up.”

In addition to the students, the college recognized the campus’ adjunct faculty member of the year, Guadalupe “Lupita” Benitez Hathaway; Kathy Kiser-Miller, the college’s full-time faculty of the year for online learning; and the full-time faculty member of the year, Jennifer le Roux. Le Roux also earned that recognition for all the CMC campuses.

CMC President Stan Jensen was in Steamboat this year to deliver the commencement address.

He told the crowd that CMC would graduate nearly 800 students this year and had a record enrollment across the CMC campuses of 25,182 students.

Jensen told the students to have a clear vision, courage and faith. Those three things made it possible for CMC to soon break ground on a new 60,000-square-foot building and to adopt a four-year bachelor’s degree program that will start next fall, he said.

He encouraged the graduates to visit Monson Hall one last time before it is torn down and to have a clear vision as they moved on from CMC.

“Seeing students graduate is one of the things that reminds me of why I’m doing this,” Jensen said.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com

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