By Hannah Lathen/ managing editor
Hundreds of caps will be flung into the air of the Fort Worth Convention Center May 16 as TCC graduates take their last step in receiving their diplomas.
One of those caps will belong to NE student Cameron Sloan who will graduate with his Associate of Arts. He is a transfer student from Cisco College and the University of Texas at Arlington. It has taken him a long time to receive his degree, Sloan said.
“I dropped out when I was 16, and I ran away from home. Then I went all over the place,” he said.
Coming from the small West Texas town of Cross Plains, Sloan said his family never wanted him to get an education. He is the first one in his family to go to college.
“They [his parents] were anti-education,” he said. “They literally told me the more educated I got, the further away from God I would get.”
TCC helped him believe in himself, Sloan said, especially with his longtime struggles with math. Having dropped out, he never got to take algebra, making it harder. Sloan also has attention deficit hyperactive disorder and major depressive disorder.
“I always felt like an idiot,” he said. “I really questioned whether I was able to be here, in a college.”
Sloan said math instructor Karen Pace helped him in math and also in life. On the day of a final, Sloan said he came into class after having problems and, even though he didn’t say anything, she knew something was wrong.
“She sat in the hallway with me and talked to me and did crisis intervention, basically,” he said.
At TCC, Sloan said he has academically grown as a person. He recently received an email from the college telling him all the steps necessary to walk the stage at graduation, and when he saw the words, ‘your alma mater,’ he said it made him cry.
“The family that I found in academia, and in growth and in books, places untouchable by human hands just through education, that has become my family,” he said. “That has become the home that I ran the world over looking for.”
After TCC, Sloan is moving with his husband to Germany to continue his education.
“What I want to do is environmental geology,” he said. “It is the only science that I can find something poetic in because I am artsy-fartsy. I write a lot, so I figured what better way to be behind a memory than a better world.”
Sloan said getting his degree from TCC is a way of saying, “I can.”
NE student Danalle Badger will also graduate with an Associate of Applied Science degree in radio/television/film. She just finished an internship, which was her biggest obstacle in getting to the stage.
“That is the hardest part of graduating,” she said. “I am finally done.”
Graduation will be separated into two ceremonies. Last names starting with A-K will begin at 1 p.m., and L-Z will begin at 6 p.m.
All early college high school graduates will be in the 6 p.m. ceremony including 111 early high school students from Marine Creek Collegiate High School and the Texas Academy of Biomedical Sciences.
Several students from Marine Creek Collegiate High School received scholarships to various universities. Samantha Rodriguez received a $64,000 scholarship to DePaul University in Chicago and one for $30,000 to the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Jalesha Cobb received a scholarship to Abilene Christian University called the Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence for $44,000.
Jackelyn Loredo received the Emerald Eager scholarship at the University of North Texas for $43,616, the Presidential Scholar scholarship at the University of Texas at Austin for $20,000 and the Regent’s Scholarship for $20,000 from Texas A&M.
Pablo Alonso received a $19,390 scholarship from Baylor University, and Kimberly Olmos received a Maverick Academic Scholarship for $16,000 from the University of Texas at Arlington.
Executive director of communication, PR and marketing Suzanne Groves said students must participate in the ceremony based on their last name as listed in Blackboard.
“Graduating students will receive everything they need to know via email, so they need to be checking regularly,” she said.
South Campus, Groves said, is the ceremonies’ host campus this year. South president Peter Jordan, board of trustees president Louise Appleman and Chancellor Eugene Giovanni will make remarks.
“Ivan Tolbert, an African-American professional opera singer, will perform the ‘Star-Spangled Banner,’” she said.
People can use #TCCgrads on TCC’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to document the graduation. Graduates can post photos of their decorated graduation caps by 5 p.m. May 16 for a chance to win two tickets to a Texas Rangers game, two Texas Rangers caps and a ball signed by the team.
TR Campus will have free parking for graduates and guests. A shuttle bus will take attendees from the campus to the convention center from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. The shuttle departs from the rotunda and will be available after the ceremony outside the center on the Commerce Street exit.
Section 202 of the convention center is reserved for hearing-impaired guests.
Graduates with special needs should contact records specialist Ashley Tully at 817-515-1550.