HACC’s Spring Commencement Surprises Bring Tears to Graduates and Attendees
HERSHEY, Pa. – The spring 2018 Commencement for the graduates of HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, was one to remember. The more than 600 students who walked across the Giant Center stage May 10, 2018, to receive their associate degrees, certificates or diplomas, included three students who didn’t realize their journey would bring tears to the eyes of fellow graduates and attendees.
Student speaker Sherry Bosserman of Red Lion fulfilled a 38-year-old dream by graduating with honors and receiving her associate degree in business administration. The nontraditional student addressed her peers: “I want my future grandchildren to understand that education is important – so important that I went back to school to obtain this goal at the age of 50… keep dreaming with your heart, never stop believing in yourself, reach high and think big. Nothing can take your dreams or desires. No one can stand in your path to success and opportunity. I dreamt that someday I would be a college graduate, and today as I stand here with all of you, this chapter of my heart’s desire has been fulfilled.”
Following Bosserman’s speech, the ceremony continued with surprises presented to two students.
Beonckia McManus of York, who graduated with an associate degree in international studies, accepted a posthumous degree for her mother, Dora McManus. Both planned to be members of this graduating class; however, Dora McManus passed away in March 2017 of breast cancer. To Beonckia McManus’ surprise, the HACC Foundation honored her mother by offering a tuition voucher that can be used by an immediate family member to attend HACC.
Olivia Dietz of East Waterford was shocked when she accepted her diploma and turned to see her sister, Sgt. Samantha Nevling, congratulating her via live video from Iraq. “I was completely shocked and overwhelmed. To have my sisters, all of them, there for this moment – words cannot describe it,” she said. Dietz graduated with an associate degree in radiologic technology and plans to enter the radiologic diagnostic imaging field. A video is available on the College’s Facebook page.
Also among the graduates were:
- Kegan S. Brauning of Littlestown, who graduated with an associate degree in computer information service with high honors. “HACC helped me to move forward,” said Brauning, who is a user support tech at the Gettysburg Campus.
- Brother and sister Ben Byler and Danielle Byler of Harrisburg, who both served as a Student Government Association president at HACC’s Harrisburg Campus. Ben graduated with highest honors and an associate degree in international studies. He was accepted into the Bucknell University Community College Scholars Program and will transfer as a junior to study global management. Danielle graduated with an associate degree in general studies. She plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in communication with a minor in organizational leadership at Arizona State University.
- Erin Heeschen of Gettysburg, who graduated with an associate degree in general studies – before receiving her high school diploma. Heeschen is one of three Gettysburg High School students who earned a HACC degree this spring before graduating from high school. Heeschen plans to transfer her HACC credits to attend Dickinson College in Carlisle and major in chemistry and anthropology.
- Denis Krpic of Camp Hill graduated with high honors and an associate degree in accounting. He said, “HACC has improved my overall outlook on life.” He plans to continue his education.
- Kirssy M. Torres of Ephrata graduated with an associate degree in business studies. She shared, “I didn’t think I could make it, but I did!” Now, she is looking to transfer to Albright College.
Photos of these graduates and more are available online. A full list of spring 2018 graduates will be available soon in our online newsroom.
Additionally, the College received support from its Commencement sponsor, AAA Central Penn.