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Sunday, November 23, 2014

WCC Grad a Good Morning America Success Story

  • Students wait to receive their degrees and certificates at the 2009 commencement ceremony. More photos from the event are available on WCC's Flickr stream.

Cameramen from ABC’s Good Morning America were among the family and friends attending the Washtenaw Community College Commencement May 16. They were there to film Scott Jones and Randy Dunny as they received their degrees with over 400 of the more than 2,100 certificate and degree candidates participating in this year’s ceremony.

Jones and Dunny came to GMA’s attention through the Washtenaw ETCS/Michigan Works! office, which provided services and funding to them after their employer, NSK Corporation, shut down its local manufacturing operation and moved it to Mexico.

Dunny will begin work as a physical therapist assistant and Jones will work as a pharmacy technician. Jones recounted his experience with GMA host Robin Roberts in a live interview the following Tuesday.

While Jones and Dunny overcame job loss, graduates Robert Anthony and Terry Burwell overcame health issues.

Pigeonholed in high school as a challenged learner, Burwell, this year’s student commencement speaker, found academic success at WCC in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning program. A bad knee injury and a bout with salivary cancer only strengthened his resolve to dispel those early misconceptions and to serve as a role model to others who are told they can’t succeed in college.

Robert Anthony injured his back and neck serving two tours of duty in Iraq. He graduated from WCC with an associate’s degree in business and will transfer to Michigan State University in the fall to purse a bachelor’s degree in business management—a dream he never gave up on.

Setting goals and taking the steps necessary to achieve them are why busy mothers Norena Jones and Aisha Johnson enrolled at WCC.

Jones graduated with associate’s degrees in Computer Networking and Management Supervision and a certificate in microcomputer systems. After transferring to Eastern Michigan University for a bachelor’s degree in applied science she hopes to work as an IT professional with the Department of Defense.

A bachelor’s in nursing from EMU is the next step for liberal arts graduate Aisha Johnson. But she’s not stopping there. She looks forward to opening her own birthing clinic to welcome the next generation into this world.

Each person walking across the stage that day is a success story waiting to be told. Whether that story is shared with a national audience or relatives from across town made little difference to the individuals in black caps and gowns May 16.

Congratulations WCC Class of 2009.

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