More Than 900 Graduate from College of the Mainland
One of those receiving a criminal justice degree in the afternoon was Rosecel Robles – only the second COM student in school history to be recognized as a COM Scholar.
By being a COM Scholar, Robles, 20, of La Marque, maintained a 3.5 grade point average, earned 12 honors credits in Texas government, criminal justice, philosophy and drama and completed a minimum of 18 credit hours plus performed 24 hours of community service. In 2016, Drager Landry of Hitchcock was recognized as the first COM Scholar.
“We know what an incredible day this is for you,” Dr. Warren Nichols, COM president told the graduates. “You have sacrificed money, sleep and time with your family and friends to achieve your goals. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, it was all worth it.”
Nichols recognized the 83 Collegiate High School students who graduated Saturday with an associate degree even before receiving their high school diplomas.
Adrian Caraves, a Collegiate High School graduate who received an Associate of Arts and an Associate of Science Degree, was the student speaker during the morning ceremony and Vanessa Selwyn, who a paramedic certificate, was the afternoon student speaker.
Caraves, who spent all four of his high school years at College of the Mainland, said he had to grow up fast once arriving on the COM campus at the age of 13.
“I was a shy kid. I went about my day and hoped for the best,” said Caraves, who will be graduating as Valedictorian of Odyssey Academy. “In order to be successful, I learned I needed to communicate well with others. Attending COM was the best decision thus far because COM is where I’ve receiving the best education from the best faculty. I went from not talking to anyone to talking to everyone.”
During his speech, Caraves, who plans to study biotechnology at the University of Houston and then attend medical school, also thanked his family and friends in Spanish. At COM, he was a member of the Phi Theta Kappa international honor society and Pi Kappa Delta, a national forensics honor society.
“Use your time here to make an impact,” Selwyn, a single mother of five who works full-time as a dispatcher, told the graduates. “The value of one’s life is immeasurable. In EMS we meet people every day that we may impact. At COM, I was encouraged and expected to care, to do the right thing, never stop learning and to be better than I was yesterday.”
During Saturday morning’s ceremony, Bernie Smiley, a faculty member in the Humanities Department, was named General Education Instructor of the Year following voting by students. Other finalists were Sparky Koerner and Christina Perez, who teach in Fine Arts and Science departments, respectively.
In the afternoon, Adrian Mejia, a first-year process technology instructor, was announced as the Workforce Education Instructor of the Year. The other two finalists were Savannah Davis and Candice Edmonston, both cosmetology instructors.
Those presenting the awards to the graduates on Saturday were Board of Trustee members Kyle Dickson, Alan Waters, Rachel Delgado, Don Gartman and Melissa Skipworth. Also distributing diplomas were Nichols and COM administration members Clen Burton, vice president for Fiscal Affairs; Ron LeVick, chief information officer; Vicki Stanfield, vice president for student services; James Templer, vice president of instruction; Carla Boone, dean of workforce & continuing education; Kris Kimbark, dean of students, and Steve Sewell, dean of academic programs.
Saturday’s ceremonies were each marked by a moment of silence to recognize those who tragically lost a year ago in Santa Fe.
The 2019 College of the Mainland graduating class*:
- 1,024 total awards received by 935 students
- 640 Associate degrees
- 331 Certificates
- 38 Continuing Education Certificates
- 15 Marketable Skills Awards
- 566 females, or 61 percent
- 369 males, or 39 percent
- Average age – 28
- 67 graduates over the age of 45
- 25 graduates under the age of 18
- 83 Collegiate High School students receiving college degrees before graduating high school
- Five Collegiate High School students receiving two degrees
- Nine dual credit graduates
- Four international students from China, Pakistan, Kenya and Turkey
*Note: This data includes students who have received an award since last year’s commencement as well as those who have applied for graduation for Spring and Summer 2019.