More than 140 graduates walked across the stage of Bob Sneller Gymnasium Saturday morning as their time at Crowder College came to an end.

More than 140 graduates walked across the stage of Bob Sneller Gymnasium Saturday morning as their time at Crowder College came to an end.

The college had a total of 320 fall graduates, with nearly half in attendance for the commencement ceremony.

The ceremony got off to a somber start, as Alan Marble, Crowder president, asked that the graduates and their guests observe a moment of silence in remembrance of the victims of Friday’s Newtown, Conn., elementary school shooting.
However, Marble also asked that, hard as it may be, the attendees push that sorrow to the backs of their minds, if only temporarily, to give the graduates the recognition and day of celebration that they had earned.

“They’ve proved themselves in a very demanding atmosphere, where math assignments were challenging, written essays were graded rigorously, and final exams are difficult and often terrifying,” Marble said. “Yet this group of students persisted, they’ve earned our respect and the right to celebrate their achievements.”

Marble went on to challenge the students, no matter their post-graduation plans, to live up to their full potential.
“My challenge to you is to do your very best,” Marble said. “Expect the best from yourself and then live up to your expectations.”

Marble, and graduate Jorge Alvarado, who delivered the graduation address, repeated a quote from the popular Christian and leadership author John C. Maxwell, “People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

“Although I have devoted a special thanks to all the teachers here at Crowder College, I believe the people who really deserve that quote are the graduates, people like you, people like me,” Alvarado told his fellow graduates. “Graduates, today this is your quote, today is your day.”

Alvarado, a Carthage native, reminisced of his first day as a college student at Crowder, and spoke of seizing the opportunity he was given.

“My family came here many decades ago from Mexico, they were searching for the American dream,” Alvarado said. “I’m satisfied to say that I’m part of that dream they came here in search of finding… I’m honored to be up here today, and I’m honored to be a Crowder College graduate, but most importantly, I’m honored to be a first generation college graduate.”

While he noted that every graduate has a different story, Alvarado urged that they always remember what brought them to this point in their lives.

“Whatever your motivational story may be, follow it, stick with it and never forget your struggle,” Alvarado said. “It is important that we walk out of here not a smarter person, but a better one.”

Alvarado, a nursing student, had many classmates in the sea of black caps and gowns, as at least two rows included lines of caps with “RN” or other nursing references painted on top.

The Crowder College Choir performed Billy Joel’s “And So It Goes,” and sang along with the graduates the Crowder College Alma Mater.

This was the ninth year that Crowder College has held a fall commencement ceremony.