Inspired by FVCC graduates and their bright future

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More than 300 students line up for the processional at the start of the Flathead Valley Community College 50th Commencement Ceremony is about to begin on Friday evening, May 18. Three hundred and sixty-eight degrees and certificates were awarded. (Brenda Ahearn/Daily Inter Lake)

Flathead Valley Community College will hold its 51st commencement ceremony at our Kalispell campus on the evening of Friday, May 17. We will recognize and celebrate the achievements of 363 dedicated students earning 341 associateís degrees and 43 certificates.

We are thankful for the friends and family who have supported these graduates during their academic journeys. Each of our graduates has a unique story about what brought them to FVCC and what drives them to seek out and achieve their dreams. While some graduates will continue their studies at four-year institutions, others will enter the local workforce in the Flathead Valley to start businesses, serve in our growing health-care industry, our diverse manufacturing sector, our law enforcement community or in other local careers.

Each day, the students of FVCC serve as an inspiration to us through their volunteerism, community engagement and enthusiasm for what the future holds. Grace Cady is one of these students. As an Honors Program student, Grace has exemplified these traits in her efforts to promote social justice in the Flathead Valley for homeless children and teens. Passionate about this cause since high school, she has spent hundreds of hours working closely with the Heart Program, a local nonprofit committed to assisting Kalispell and Evergreen students. Graceís volunteer efforts earned her a Newman Civic Fellowship through Campus Compact, a coalition of more than 1,000 colleges and universities committed to fulfilling the public purposes of higher education. This fall, Grace will attend Montana State University to pursue a bachelorís degree.

Isaac Neumann is another exceptional graduate whose passion for advanced manufacturing is evident through his success in our industrial machine technology program. Like many FVCC students, Isaac works while attending college. He has continued his job at his grandfatherís machine shop Ė engaging in his passion for manufacturing at work and at college. Isaac plans to carry on the familyís work in machining by starting his own business in the Flathead Valley. Thanks to his FVCC education, Isaac will have the skills and knowledge to continue the family tradition of machining.

Isaac also has the unique distinction of having been selected to the 2019 All-Montana Academic Team as a member of Phi Theta Kappa and named a 2019 New Century Workforce Pathway Scholar Ė one of only 50 in the United States. In addition, Isaac and five of his FVCC classmates took first place in the national Phillips Machinist Cutting Edge Parts Competition in February.

Grace and Isaac are just two of the many students whose lives have been transformed by attending FVCC. As a community college, we provide endless educational opportunities to everyone in our community. We are proud to be a college of choice providing quality education through excellent faculty, affordability, small class sizes, flexible schedules and rewarding academic programs.

We are all inspired by our graduatesí achievements and the bright future that lies ahead of them. Congratulations to all of our graduates for their dedication, hard work and achievements. I also want to thank you, our local community, for your continued support to make FVCC an outstanding college.

Jane Karas is Flathead Valley Community College President

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