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WKCTC to Hold Fall 2016 Commencement December 12

PADUCAH, KY (November 21, 2015) - West Kentucky Community and Technical College will honor nearly 800 candidates for graduation during a commencement ceremony December 12 at 7 p.m. at the Luther F. Carson Four Rivers Center. There will also be a pinning ceremony for nursing students held prior to commencement at 5 p.m.

Featured commencement speaker, Dr. Rhonda Tracy, has served as the chancellor of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System since 2015.This followed her term as senior vice president for academic affairs at West Virginia University at Parkersburg, where she also served as interim president prior to her current role at KCTCS.

A former associate dean of education at Winthrop University in South Carolina and assistant vice chancellor at the University of Arkansas, Dr. Tracy taught as an assistant professor of education at Marietta College of Ohio. She also served as a vice president, dean and professor at Midway College. She received a bachelor of arts degree in education from the University of South Carolina and a doctorate in reading education from Ohio University.

WKCTC students Virginia Blanco-Mireles of Graves County and Jearld J.D. Pullen of McCracken Countywill be the student commencement speakers.

Not everyone gets the chance to be a speaker, so I feel very honored, said Blanco-Mireles.A 2013 Graves County High School graduate andnative of San Luis Potosi, Mexico,Blanco-Mireles, 21, strivesto always try her hardest to make her parents proud and to motivate her siblings. I feel like I can inspire them to expand themselves and go for opportunities available to them, she said.

Blanco-Mireles praised WKCTCs faculty and staff for helping students succeed and for wanting to see them fulfill their dreams. In all sincerity, WKCTC is a great school, she said. Everyone is willing to help in any way they can, and I think that is the best part about WKCTC and what helps the students the most.

Graduating with an associate in art degree, Blanco-Mireles plans to transfer to Murray State University. I have always tried hard in school, even in elementary school, and here I am with this amazing opportunity, she said. Your opportunities are limitless if you give your 110% on everything.

J.D. Pullen, a 1986 Lone Oak High School graduate, was surprised and hesitant when he was first asked to speak at commencement.

I think a lot of us lack confidence in ourselves or the ability to do something we dont see ourselves capable of doing, said the 48-year-old Pullen. But to know others have taken notice of certain character qualities and believe in our life stories enough to ask us to speak to others is humbling and motivating enough to accept this honor.

Always wanting to be a nurse, Pullen put his dream on hold to serve in the United States Marine Corps from 1987-1991. Following the military, he returned to Paducah and worked several jobs to support his family.

Work and family took priority, said the husband and father of three. I spent 11 and half years at my last job where I assumed Id retire, only to find out at 46 I no longer had a job. After being laid off, Pullen said with the unwavering support of his wife and sons, he knew if was time follow his dream. Pullen is graduating with an associate in applied science degree in nursing, and following his board certification; he will begin work in the emergency room at Baptist Health Paducah in January.

Now almost three years later, I am seeing a dream of becoming a nurse turning into a reality, Pullen said. Its not for me to ask why now, but to simply say Im ready; lets do this. Thank you, God.

Registration for spring classes at WKCTC is currently underway. Call1-(855) GO-WKCTC or visitwestkentucky.kctcs.edufor class offerings. Spring classes begin January 9.