Fall graduates set to walk the stage, Shannon Knebusch fall 2017 commencement speaker :

Savannah Tarbet, mass communication major, buys a cap an gown from Gayle Weeks, bookstore employee.

By Mackenzie Farmer and Carter Hall:

For many students, the end of the fall semester means a break from school, but for some, it means their time at Amarillo College is coming to an end.

“I have had wonderful professors that I have learned so much from,” Chelsea Rhodes, a graduating psychology major, said. “I feel that I have enough information to go forward and pursue my dream career.”

Fall 2017 graduates will walk the stage Friday, Dec. 15 and from there will begin a new chapter, whether it’s entering the workforce or continuing on and furthering their education.

“After graduation, I am going to pursue a bachelor’s degree in psychology and then obtain my masters in clinical psychology,” said Rhodes. “I plan to become a licensed therapist and have my own practice. I later want to pursue my doctoral degree in cognitive behavioral therapy and extend my practice to help those with autism.”

Students say commencement is an event they look forward to because it shows the success they have achieved through those long days of coffee-fueled studying and late-night Whataburger runs.

My Nguyen is a graduating biology major. She said she owes her success to hard work and the many resources available at AC.

“They are there to help you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help because the professors want to help,” Nguyen said.

“In order to be successful in college you have to put in effort,” Rhodes said. “Every assignment requires diligence and hard work in order to complete it.”

As graduation draws closer, the commencement committee has been busy planning. “We have a committee of faculty and staff. We meet and divide up the duties into smaller subcommittees. Each subcommittee is responsible for various items in relation to the ceremony,” Diane Brice, registrar and director of enrollment services, said.

At the ceremony, musical performances will be provided by AC professors Mary Jane Johnson, an opera singer, and Diego Caetano, a pianist. “I am really excited about the piano, it is going to be very cool,” Lesley Ingham, a commencement committee member, said.

Another addition this year will be large TV screens outside the coliseum so people who arrive late will still be able to see the ceremony, which will also be livestreamed online.

AC officials select a graduating student to speak at each commencement ceremony. Shannon Knebusch, this fall semester’s chosen speaker, will earn an associate degree in general studies. She plans to go on to earn a second associate degree in nursing and then transfer to Texas Tech to complete a nursing bachelor’s degree.

Knebusch is a mother of five who lost her 16-year-old daughter to cancer in 2012. She and her husband founded a local pediatric cancer charity, the MTK Foundation, named in honor of her daughter, Madison Taylor Knebusch.

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