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WKCTC to Hold Fall 2015 Commencement December 14

West Kentucky Community and Technical College will honor more than 800 candidates for graduation during a commencement ceremony December 14 at 7 p.m. at the Luther F. Carson Four Rivers Center. There will also be a pinning ceremony held prior to commencement at 5 p.m. for nursing students.

Alexandra Sherwood, director of recruiting and career services at University of Kentucky College of Engineering, Paducah, will be the keynote speaker for the ceremony. A native of Morocco, in northern Africa, Sherwood worked diligently to become a United States citizen in 2006. Since that time, she has earned a GED, an associate degree from WKCTC in 2009, and a masters degree in organizational communication from Murray State University in 2013.

Returning to WKCTC as the featured commencement speaker is the realization of a long-time dream for Sherwood. I believe in this college so much, and coming back to help inspire students like my professors inspired me is what Ive always wanted to do since I first stepped foot on this campus, said Sherwood. I am now working to recruit more students to WKCTC and the UK College of Engineering. I am thrilled and honored to be involved in anything this college does, most especially commencement.

WKCTC students Ryan Haden of Graves County and Jill Westerfield of McCracken County will be the student speakers. I'm honored to be able to speak at commencement, and Im excited to be starting a new chapter in my life, said Hayden.

A 2010 Graves County High School graduate, Hayden pursued a full baseball scholarship to Shawnee Community College where he studied health science. An avid athlete who had suffered various injuries, Hayden decided he needed to pursue a new career in physical therapy and WKCTC was the place to do that.

I chose WKCTC because it was close to my home in Mayfield and it had the physical therapist assistant (PTA program) I needed, said Hayden. I set out to help athletes like myself, and I felt that the best way to do that is to help them return to sport.

Hayden had an accident in July 2014, just prior to his second semester of the PTA program, confining him to a wheelchair for three months and jeopardizing his ability to complete the program by his scheduled December graduation date.

My instructors encouraged me to stick with the program, and reassured me that they would help me in any way necessary, said 24-year-old Hayden. With that constant support and help from my fellow students, I will not only be able to graduate on time, but I also get to share my WKCTC experiences at commencement.

Hayden plans to pursue a bachelors degree at Murray State University.

Jill Westerfield developed her passion for art from her grandmother in their native Cologne, Germany. In fall 2013, she traveled to the United States to continue that passion at Paducah School of Art and Design (PSAD).

Exposed to new creative outlets, Westerfield began to flourish as an artist. I experienced art like I never had before, working with many mediums for the very first time. My life has forever been changed thanks to the PSAD, said the 21-year-old Westerfield. I never thought I would get the opportunity to be a commencement speaker. It's an honor and I am excited to share my story."

Westerfield will graduate with an Associate in Fine Arts degree and plans to transfer to a university in Germany to study art restoration or industrial design in the future.

Registration for spring classes at WKCTC is currently underway. Call 1-(855) GO-WKCTC or visit westkentucky.kctcs.edu for class offerings. Spring classes begin January 11.