May 15, 2014
After a year of hard work, commencement day is here for some Piedmont Virginia Community College (PVCC) students.
"18 years ago I graduated from Piedmont and it was a good experience for me and I'm telling my daughter this is something they can't take away from you," says David Ruffner, father of a 2014 graduate.
Despite the rainy weather, hundreds of people filed into the John Paul Jones arena to watch their loved ones receive their diplomas.
“My daughter Lindsay is graduating today and we are so excited,” says Wanda Wright, mother of a PVCC graduate.
PVCC is holding their 41st commencement ceremony and they are expecting 609 students to receive their diplomas. Students from all walks of life took the stage to receive their diploma.
“I kind of moved on to a later point of my life and I didn't want to be hypocritical when I made my children go to college at some point in their lives, so I came back and kind of tried something different,” says William Codey Marshall
Marshall is a veteran, who served in the Marines from 2002 to 2006. He says he's happy to begin his career and he is honored that other veterans came before him, paving the way for him to receive his degree.
“I love the school and they are taking care of me,” says Marshall. “I originally came here as a stepping stone for my four year degree and then I found a home, found a family.”
“It's a great school and I couldn't have had a better experience.”
The President of PVCC says he's always encouraged by the students at the college.
“With the students we serve, for many of them this is something very special,” says Frank Friedman. “Many are the first in their family to earn a college degree and it's a real family event, and a family celebration that these students achieved so much.”
The commencement speaker is Virginia Community College System Chancellor Glenn DuBois.
The ceremony began at 6 PM at the John Paul Jones arena. While graduates are ending one chapter of their lives, they are also beginning another as they get ready to join the workforce.