Howard Community College graduates urged to value their education

Jess Nocera
Contact ReporterHoward County Times

Fourteen years ago, Anya Welsh left her family, friends and a pharmacy career in the Ukraine to come to the United States with the determination to have a better future for herself and her daughter.

On Tuesday, Welsh’s determination paid off. She received an associate of applied science degree from Howard Community College.

Welsh, 33, was chosen as the student speaker for HCC’s spring graduation ceremony at the Retriever Activities Center Arena at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in Catonsville.

Welsh encouraged her classmates to not be scared to make mistakes and to keep moving forward.

Welsh, a single parent, spoke about her own experience at HCC and how the college helped her find her “inner self,” and become the person she is today.

“I still remember my first day at HCC, grabbing brochures and knocking on every single door looking for a solution and help,” Welsh said. “I grew from the girl who came to this country and was scared to order a pizza at the mall to the woman that has become a leader.”

An estimated 1,365 candidates — the largest class in school history — were eligible for graduation at Tuesday’s ceremony.

Mary Ann Scully, CEO of Howard Bank, delivered the commencement address. She urged students to be curious and have an open mind.

Scully also told students to never strive for comfort because they are “uniquely blessed as a community graduate.

“Don’t underestimate the gift you have been given with your community college experience,” Scully said.

Welsh, whose next goal is to become a diagnostic medical sonographer, said that while each of their paths could take them far from HCC, there is one thing that all the students will remember.

“Our starting point, our ‘second home,’ is Howard Community College,” she said.


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