Allen County celebrates past, future

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May 17, 2010 - 12:00 AM

Misty Powelson greeted Saturday’s commencement at Allen County Community College with mixed emotions.
“I’m ready to move on to work on a couple more degrees,” the ACCC sophomore said. “And I’m more than ready to start a new career. But it’s hard for me to want to leave here.”
Allen County differs from other colleges, in that staff members know their students, usually by their first and last names, said Powelson, chosen as the class speaker for the 2010 graduates.
At a larger university, “you’re likely to be known only as your student ID number,” Powelson said.
Powelson lauded her classmates.
Some, like her, attended ACCC for its athletic programs. Others plan to transfer to four-year universities, while others already work full time and need a course or two to complete their associates degrees. Still others are seeking their general education development (GED) certification, while others simply attend for the extracurricular activities.
“We all have different reasons for being here,” she said. “We’ve all traveled different roads.”
Dan Christie, class of 1983, was invited to speak as Allen County’s Distinguished Alumnus for 2010.
Christie was a member of the Red Devil baseball team that wound up taking third place in the NJCAA World Series in 1983. From Allen County, he attended the University of Kansas before joining his brother’s real estate firm in Kansas City. In 1992, Christie helped found West Star Development, a real estate brokerage firm that focuses on shopping center construction in the midwest.
“Through it all, he has remained a devoted supporter of Allen,” ACCC President John Masterson said.
Christie, in turn, lauded ACCC, with special mention to Red Devil baseball coach Val McLean, “who challenged us to be better and do more.”
Christie, who confessed to not being an English major, still noted the definition of the word “commencement.”
While many consider their commencement to be the end of their schooling, it actually marks the beginning of the rest of their lives, Christie said.
“Today is your commencement,” he said, while tomorrow and the days after that also can be considered commencement days as well.
He noted similarities between succeeding at baseball and succeeding in life, through effort, perseverence and helping others.
“It’s not about me,” he said. “It’s about we. Help your teammates in every way you can.”

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