Commencement speaker, Toni Preckwinkle, President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners(PHOTO SUPPLIED)
Chicago Heights, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Education changes everything. That was the message that Toni Preckwinkle had for the graduates at Prairie State College (PSC) 52nd annual commencement ceremony held on May 21. Preckwinkle is the President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners and gave the commencement address. Preckwinkle was elected Cook County Board President in 2010.
“I know what education can do, it gives you the skills and knowledge to compete and win in this environment,” Preckwinkle said to the graduates. “The shifts in technology and changes around the world force us to compete with other nations. It requires a sustained, united effort and an educated workforce.”
Preckwinkle went on to encourage the graduates, “Your journey has not been easy, and you are achieving the American dream today by obtaining a degree.” She encouraged the graduates to vote and to be part of the community, “when citizens become engaged in their communities, good things happen.”
This year 380 students graduated from PSC and earned associate degrees and certificates, and approximately 260 graduates participated in the ceremony. During the ceremony, Favian Apata, of Chicago Heights; Adriana Popovich, of Beecher; and Steven Tijerina, of Park Forest; received the President’s Leadership Award. This award is given annually to one or more graduates who have maintained a high academic standing while demonstrating significant leadership contributions to the college.
Chidinma Nwakanma, of Park Forest; and Evan Rugen, of Flossmoor; were recognized as members of Phi Theta Kappa All-Illinois Academic Team. Phi Theta Kappa is the international honor society for community college students.
“Commencement is the highlight of our year; it is what we all have been working towards,” said Dr. Eric C. Radtke, college president. “The great thing about community colleges is we offer opportunities to a wide array of students. Degrees or certificates obtained by our students will open doors for new opportunities, experiences, and life-long benefits.”