Education is a good investment, NCCC grads told

North Country Community College commencement speaker Paul Miller, principal and CEO of Green Tech High School, delivers a speech to the graduating students on Saturday. (Enterprise photo — Jesse Adcock)

SARANAC LAKE — Around 300 North Country Community College students graduated from 24 degree and certificate programs Saturday in the Spark’s Athletic Complex.

Opening at 11 a.m., NCCC President Steve Tyrell welcomed faculty, staff, students and their families to the 51st NCCC commencement ceremony in the packed gymnasium.

“To graduates, you are part of a incredible history of success for a great faculty and staff that have prepared you to make a difference in the world,” he said. “So go forth and do so.”

Tyrell introduced keynote speaker Paul Miller, principal and CEO of Green Tech High School in Albany.

“You have and always will have the power to thrive,” Miller said. “Now as graduates, I ask you to soar. I task you to find somebody who fears to fall and inspire others to change their lives through education as well. You are no longer afraid. … You have forever changed your lives by getting your degree. Now let’s reach new levels; your wings will not fail you.”

North Country Community College Board of Trustees Vice Chair Tim Burpoe, left, presents a diploma to a student on Saturday. (Enterprise photo — Jesse Adcock)

His message was for NCCC students to invest in themselves and deny fear the chance to hold them back. Taking out a $20,000 loan to continue their educations onto a baccalaureate degree was not like taking a similar loan for any other asset.

Unlike, say, a car — which might depreciate with time — investing in one’s education only appreciates one’s value.

“An education doesn’t mean you will be necessarily more successful,” Miller said. “What it does do is open doors to more opportunities.

“The way you think is the way you act. The way you act is what you attract,” Miller said. “I’m choosing to attract success.”

Before handing out certificates and diplomas, Tyrell honored three retiring faculty and staff: Lynne Fisher-Kemp, Lynne Reale and Larry McFaddin. Additionally, Chancellor’s Awards were presented to Becky LaDue and Malinda Chapman.

North Country Community College students rejoice at the conclusion of their commencement. (Enterprise photo — Jesse Adcock)

A posthumous degree was given to the family and loved ones of Andie Carpenter, a student in the NCCC’s radiologic technology program who died in January.

“Her spirit, beautiful smile and contagious laugh will be missed by all who knew her,” Tyrell said.

See and buy more photos on our CU photo gallery.

From left, North Country Community College Board of Trustees Vice Chair Tim Burpoe, board Chair Stephen Reed, Maria Vowles, Ian Penders, Mandy Carpenter, Josh Carpenter, NCCC President Steve Tyrell and NCCC Radiologic Technology Director Becky LaDue present a posthumous degree to Andie Carpenter, a rad tech student who died in January. (Enterprise photo — Jesse Adcock)