South Suburban College (SSC) of South Holland, IL celebrated its first in-person Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, May 22, 2022 since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly every chair in the SSC Physical Fitness and Athletic Center was filled with family and friends celebrating the achievements of well over 100 graduates. Those unable to attend in-person were offered the opportunity to view the event live on YouTube.
The ceremony began with welcome messages from SSC President, Lynette D. Stokes, Ed.D. and Terry R. Wells, Chairman of the SSC Board of Trustees. Wells remarked, “Graduates, I know today is a very special day for you, and I want you to know that I’m feeling some of the same emotions you are today. I have to admit today’s graduation is very special to me because it represents the first Commencement Ceremony that I have participated in as Chairman of the Board of Trustees. Please know that you are a part of history and you are a part of our future. You can count on SSC for support as you look to enter the workforce, as you make new connections and as you further your education.”
Several esteemed speakers were welcomed to the stage, including Becky Hougesen Walters, J.D., Paralegal Studies and Criminal Justice Program Coordinator as the Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year. An emotional Walters held back tears as she addressed the Class of 2022. She said, “Looking around this room, it appears that we are now returning to normal. That being said, I beg you – don’t you dare be normal. It is the unique and wonderful things about each one of you that will make you successful, and that will leave an imprint in our world.”
SSC alumna, Jada D. Curry, M.A., PHR, who serves as the mayor of the Village of Lynwood, IL followed Walters as the keynote speaker. Curry acknowledged the hard work and resilience of the graduates. “No one could have predicted how valuable online learning could be, and now, you’re experts,” she stated. “You made it, while also becoming a homeschool teacher for your kids. You made it after being laid off from your job. You made it through a mental health crisis. You made it when others didn’t. You made it when others couldn’t. The moral of the story is: You made it.” Curry ended her speech with a few words of wisdom. She concluded, "College isn't just a place where you can get an education. It's also a place where you learn more about your strengths, your weaknesses, and how to leverage them both. Use them wisely."
Shortly thereafter, graduates proudly crossed the stage to accept there diplomas. They were greeted by various members of the Board of Trustees as they became the newest members of the SSC alumni community.
America Garrido of Lansing, IL, earned an Associate of Arts degree with a concentration in psychology. This stellar alumna graduated with honors and has plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree. She remarked, “South Suburban College is a great school. They have all of the tools to help students be successful.”
Take the next step in your success today at South Suburban College. For more information or for assistance with registration, access the LIVE Chat button online at ssc.edu or call (708) 210-5718.