FORT WORTH, Texas (May 10, 2014) – If Tarrant County College graduates thought their test-taking days were over, they found out Saturday that they were wrong when commencement speaker Luis Ponjuan, Ph.D., gave them three tips for their “final exam called LIFE.”
Ponjuan, nationally known as an advocate for programs that help male students of color achieve academic success and college completion, is an associate professor in the Department of Educational Administration and Human Resource Development in the College of Education and Human Development at Texas A&M University in College Station.
Ponjuan told graduates their lives are like books and while their college degree is one chapter, it is not their last chapter. He told them they would make a difference in their communities in a variety of careers, including nurses, teachers, welders, public safety servants and business leaders, which will be new chapters in their books.
In his role as their “professor for the day,” Ponjuan said, would share three ideas that will be on their final exam.
“We have to remember that being the author of your life book requires us to make a daily choice to continue writing your life book,” he said. “Each day, we have to make a choice about how we will write our new chapters.”
As he encouraged graduates to “Think Bigger,” “Go Further” and “Do Greater,” Ponjuan provided insights on each:
- “Thinking bigger means you have to believe in yourself. . . and never give up. Thinking bigger ultimately means you need to choose to act. You need to wake up every day and act and behave differently to achieve different results.
- “To go further, you have to know your limits and do not over train and hurt yourself. You need to seek wise counsel and talk to people in your profession or degree program for advice to achieve success.”
- “Doing greater is leaving a lasting and positive legacy to others in your personal and professional lives. To create a legacy, you need to think of others, you need to have compassion for others and you need to serve others.”
TCC 2014 graduates included the first Early College High School high school students in Tarrant County to earn their associate degree. Marine Creek Collegiate High School opened at TCC Northwest Campus in fall 2010 with a freshman class from Lake Worth Independent School District. The first Fort Worth ISD students enrolled in fall 2011.
The first MCCHS graduates consist of Lake Worth Independent School District students: Alondra Aleman, Andrea Aleman, Jesus Arreola (summer graduate), Angelica Gandara, Dulce Gallegos (summer graduate), Alex Hinojosa (summer graduate), Priscila Luna, Dennis Ralon, Candace Soto, Robert Trejo and Madison White. Fort Worth ISD graduates were Adelaide Boak and Lalita Sundarrajan.
TCC graduates receiving associate degrees and certificates of completion include those eligible for degrees from summer and fall 2013 and spring 2014. A total of 6,426 students are expected to complete requirements during this period, up 22 percent from the number expected last spring.