Tooele Applied Technology College awarded 87 certificates of competency during its spring graduation ceremony.
The graduation ceremony was held Thursday at TATC.
“Many of our students overcame large obstacles to achieve this accomplishment,” said TATC president Scott Snelson.
Student speaker Esmerelda Montoya Mena drove from Kearns to Tooele to attend TATC. She completed two certificates in business technologies.
“My goal was to enter the military when I graduated from high school, but because of complications, I have to backtrack my education a little bit,” Mena said. “My goal is still to join the military, but I will do it as an officer after I finish my bachelor’s degree.”
Mena will enroll at Utah State University with 30 credit hours towards an associate’s degree as part of an articulation agreement between USU and TATC, according to Snelson.
Tiffany Walker, another student speaker, completed a certificate in practical nursing.
“I’ve wanted to be a nurse for a long time,” Walker said.
Walker completed a medical assisting certificate from Salt Lake Community College in 2011 and started working in the medical field. She completed a certified nursing assistant certificate at TATC in 2011 and an associate’s degree from USU-Tooele Regional campus in 2013, working on prerequisites for practical nursing, Snelson said.
“Going back to school has been a character defining time in my life,” Walker said. “It has caused me to face many challenges associated with shifting responsibilities financially and with family and with school.”
Going back to school takes courage, according to Walker.
“But here I am standing before you today because I did it,” she said. “All the graduates that took that first scary intimidating step, we did it. All of us did it!”
Keynote speaker Paul Ogilvie, executive director of Rocky Mountain Care Willow Springs Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center and a member of the TATC board of directors, also mentioned “steps” in his address to the graduates.
“Taking that first step literally changes the world,” Ogilvie said. “Take that one step to decide to enroll, and then there are possibilities that appear. The world will be a better place for what you have done”
Certificates awarded at the graduation ceremony included health care, business technologies, information technologies, service industries, manufacturing technologies and transportation industries.
The May 2017 graduation included the first practical nursing graduating class from TATC, according to Snelson.
Most programs at TATC are open-entry and competency based, which means TATC graduates students year round, Snelson said.
TATC holds a formal graduation ceremony twice a year in May and November.