Former Governor Jim Hodges, dared graduates of Northeastern Technical College to "dream big dreams" and not fear improvement and innovation as they received degrees, diplomas and/or certificates that will be their pathway to a future at the college's annual commencement ceremony held May 17.
"Think big and dream big, because too often in life we simply don't dream big enough," he said. "We sometimes live in a world of our own creation, made of low expectations, and fail to achieve our full potential as a people, as a state, and as a nation."
He also asked the graduates to remember Google's motto, which is to have a "healthy disregard for the impossible."
Hodges was the keynote speaker for the college's commencement ceremony held at Cheraw High School where students received recognition for graduating from one of the college's programs by the close of the spring semester 2014.
Hodges, along with faculty, staff and members of NETC's Area Commission, joined graduates and their families in marking this monumental milestone in the lives of so many.
"We're honored that you chose our college as a place in which you would continue your education, and we, along with all those assembled here today, celebrate your accomplishments," Dr. Ron Bartley, college president, said. "I urge you to never forget that learning and the pursuit of truth are valuable and everlasting traits."
Bartley also reminded graduates that their successful completion of a program at NETC makes each one of them an alumnus of the College.
"Don't think of your graduation as leaving us. What you'll actually be doing is taking a part of us with you," he said. "On this day, you're an alumnus of Northeastern Technical College, and I officially designate each of you as a new member of our Alumni Association."
Bartley took a moment during the ceremony to recognize four graduates who made going to college at NETC a "family affair," announcing father and son graduates, Kip and Graham Kiser, as well as mother and son graduates, Sandra and John Locklear to the audience.
"As you go forward in your life beyond NETC, remember all those people who helped you get to where you are today and pass this heritage on to the next generation," Bartley continued. "They will need you as much as you needed those who helped you get through this."
Area Commission Chairman Herbert Watts introduced former Governor Jim Hodges as the guest speaker, listing his many past accomplishments, including his achievements as governor, during which time, he helped to establish the SC Education Lottery. Hodges, served as the 114th Governor of South Carolina from 1999 to 2003 and made education a top priority during his term.
Hodges, spoke about his upbringing as the child of textile workers and how valuable education is for those wanting to succeed in today's world.
"Your parents and grandparents will probably tell you that the world ahead is going to be easier for you than it was for them," said Hodges. "Well, let me tell you... They are wrong."
"Even though the world ahead of you may be more exciting or more interesting, the world has changed dramatically, especially when you think about where we are now, compared to where we used to be," he explained. "My great grandfather and grandfather both worked in the textile mills in York County, and they raised families working for one company in one town, but neither of them had college degrees."
He spoke about how the world of our fathers and grandfathers, only exists on television and how small communities throughout the state are now struggling to survive. He told the graduates that reports show that South Carolina needs more than 110,000 more two-year and four-year degree college graduates to meet the demands of today's workforce.
"The textile industry is gone, and the people without a post-secondary degree won't have the chance to give their families that middle class life that we yearn for," Hodges continued.
He also shared with the audience the story of his mother, who went back to college as a parent and was able to eventually earn her PhD.
"Many of you had families and work to juggle and had to find time to study," he said. "What is so important about this is the impact it will have on your children."
"The example you set for your children, for your family, and community is one of the value of education. Your degree is equally important because it sends a message that lives can be dramatically changed through the power of education."
Those daring to be great by pursuing their pathway to a future through education or by upgrading their work skills should take note of the July 30 application deadline for the fall 2014 semester. Applications are available and will be accepted at any of the college campuses in Pageland, Cheraw, Bennettsville or Dillon. For more information, call 1-800-921-7399 and choose option 1 for admissions.
To download an application form, visit the Admission page of the college website at www.netc.edu.
To view photos of NETC's 2014 graduation ceremonies visit the Northeastern Technical College Alumni Association page on www.facebook.com.
Taking classes at Northeastern Technical College while in high school has helped prepare me for the College of Charleston by earning credits that I will need for my major. I will be entering the College of... Read More about Kayla
I received individualized attention from my instructors at Northeastern Technical College when I was going through the business program. NETC's faculty and staff members are very friendly and accommodating, and they really care about their students.... Read More about Cynthia
Going to Northeastern Technical College allowed me to work a full-time job, be at home with my child and live in my community. At NETC, you are more than just a number in a classroom. The... Read More about Anissa
Going to NETC, which is exactly 17 miles from my home, was convenient. I could live at home and go to school, which was a lot more affordable for me than going off to college elsewhere.... Read More about Jonathan
Northeastern Technical College was my pathway to a better life. NETC was directly involved in getting me where I am today and having the job that I am so passionate about.... Read More about Santrice
NETC was my pathway to a broad range of knowledge that has allowed me to pursue my dream of owning my own business. NETC is a great starting point for people who are undecided about their... Read More about Tony
Northeastern Technical College is a huge resource for students attending four-year colleges and universities who come home for the summer. It's a quality education at a fraction of the cost. And it's right here in Chesterfield... Read More about Davis
Being a part of the Dual Enrollment program at NETC allowed me to not only graduate in four years from college, but also see the world. By gaining a head start in my college career through... Read More about Trevor
Life is a journey, and NETC was my starting point on my pathway to a rewarding career in social work. NETC can be a starting point for many who are ready to start pushing for an... Read More about Hester
The education I received at Northeastern Technical College was my pathway to a fulfilling, exciting and successful career in law enforcement. Had I not started at NETC, I would never have achieved my position as chief.... Read More about Larry
I tell my students all the time that they need to pursue an associate degree and not just rely on the cosmetology certificate. A two-year degree can be their pathway to another job if they do... Read More about Alanda
If you live in Chesterfield, Marlboro or Dillon counties and you're having a hard time finding work, there's no reason not to start your education at Northeastern Technical College.... Read More about Chad
I am thankful for the opportunity I had to take dual credit classes at NETC. Not only did they help me prepare for college level course work and scheduling, the college credits I earned at NETC... Read More about Caroline
I have a passion to create. I'm not just doing this because of the money, the fame or power. It is truly my passion. I am an artist, and I will always create to make people... Read More about Frank
By enrolling in the Industrial Electronics program at NETC, I am pursuing the dream I’ve had for a long time of becoming an electrician. Going to school at NETC and learning these advanced skills has been... Read More about Jarrett
I knew I wanted to study law, and Northeastern Technical College offered the pathway to becoming a legal office assistant. The smaller classes and the support services offered by NETC really met my needs and allowed... Read More about Emily
NETC is my pathway to a college degree and a better life. It has helped me define my career plans and pursue a job in machine tool technology where I can use my problem solving skills.... Read More about Josh
Northeastern Technical College was close to home and my job, and it was affordable. It was my starting place. With this nursing degree from NETC, I can branch out and go anywhere.... Read More about Tommy