906 degrees in largest RCCC class ever

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 14, 2011

By Lee Ann Sides
For the Salisbury Post
SALISBURY — Jordan Corriher believes he made a good choice when he decided to go to college.
“It was tough, but it went fast,” Corriher says. “I’m glad I decided to do it.”
Corriher’s choice made him part of history. Rowan-Cabarrus Community College celebrated its largest graduating class in the history of the college on Saturday. Dr. Carol Spalding raised her hand as she reported 906 students graduated from RCCC this year. Graduates ranged in age from 17 to 69 with the average age being 33. There were also 416 graduates of the GED program.
Spalding said, “79 percent of today’s graduates are STEM graduates.” STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math. The N.C. STEM Community Collaborative helps communities throughout North Carolina ensure that all students are career and college ready by engaging in rigorous and relevant science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education that provides them with good choices in life and bolsters the economic strength of their communities.
“It also stands for strategy that engages the mind,” Spalding said.
Grace Mynatt, graduation speaker, spoke of the importance of being qualified. “It is our choices that make us qualified,” Mynatt said.
Mynatt, wife of the late auto dealership owner Ben Mynatt, informed the graduates how the choices she made affected her life. She married young, she says, when she was 19 and her husband was 21.
“He had no job. We had no money,” Mynatt said. “And we definitely had no common sense.”
Back then, there weren’t many choices for women.
“You didn’t even consider criminal justice,” Mynatt said. “The main goal was to snare a good husband rather quickly.”
Mynatt says the decision to attend college was a great one and the day the pair graduated together was one of the proudest moments in her life.
Joel Corriher felt the same pride as he watched his son walk across the stage and receive the same degree he had received: an associate In applied science degree in electrical/ electronics technology. Jordan will join the family business, Corriher Well Drilling in China Grove.
Heather McGee says college was an easy choice for her. McGee received her diploma in Dental Assisting.
“When I got braces, I knew I wanted to do it,” McGee said. “I love my teeth.”
McGee, 19, of China Grove, says graduating “feels awesome” and wants to continue her education to go even further in her career.
Mynatt commended the graduates for making good choices.
“None of us in this room have been untouched by the economic changes,” Mynatt said. “It is too easy to dismiss the opportunity for change.”
Mynatt’s children now own automotive dealerships of their own.
Jordan Corriher hopes he can make the same choice and take over the family business one day.
“I think he’s made great choices,” Jordan’s mother Crystal said. “I’m proud to be his mother.”
“I think he’s done good,” Joel Corriher said. “He’s ready to go to work now.”