Co-commencement speakers spark joy

By Phoebe Terry 



Gracie Porras
Liv Cawthon

Gracie Porras, a sonography major, was selected by Amarillo College to be the commencement speaker for the 3 p.m. graduation ceremony.

“I feel a little nervous and a little excited. I cant wait to see my kids faces when i’m out there,” Porras said. 

Porras said that attending AC and working with patients during clinicals pushed her to be less shy and more outgoing. 

“I was told that I was too quiet and that I was too low when I was talking, and I had to raise my voice when I was talking to patients. So, I knew that I had to step it up and I’ve really come out of my comfort zone. I would have never thought I would have done this commencement speech because I didn’t even talk in class,” Porras said.  

She started out in the nursing program at Clovis Community College but quickly discovered that nursing wasn’t for her. She took a break from school, but after having twin daughters she decided she wanted to go back. 

“I was like I have my prereqs for nursing, I have to put those into something. So I started looking into AC and they had the sonography program, and I saw that most of my pre-reqs were similar so thats how I came here,” Porras said. 

According to Porras, she had always had an interest in medicine stemming from her mom who was a nurse in Mexico. 

“She got her education and she always tells stories of doing OB to general to being in the OR all at once. It was crazy. She always told me, ‘if you get a job in healthcare there’s always going to be jobs available.’”

Porras said she first found interest in sonography while she was pregnant with her second daughter. 

“I was told that she was going to be born with spina bifida, so they sent me to a high risk doctor and he started doing a ton of ultrasounds to rule that out. And I started seeing it and I was like ‘Hey, that’s pretty neat,’” Porras said. 

Porras was named outstanding major for sonography, as well as, being involved as vice president of AC’s sonography club. She is also employed as a sonography practitioner at Northwest Texas Hospital and High Plains Radiology. 

Amarillo College will host two spring commencement ceremonies on Friday, May 12 at the Amarillo Civic Center. There will be as many as 1,104 spring and summer 2023 graduates crossing the stage.

AC officials have also selected Liv Cawthon, an English major, to be the commencement speaker for the 7 p.m. ceremony for the business, CIS, creative arts, education, liberal arts, STEM and general studies majors.

“It was very surprising. I got the email and I was like, ‘oh no, I have to write a speech now.’ This is really exciting, but also, I feel like I’m going throw up every single time I talk about it,” Cawthon said.

Cawthon said she made the right choice of getting her start at AC, “It made me into a better person and it made me grow up,” she said.

Cawthon is in several different clubs and organizations including Phi Theta Kappa, Presidential Scholars and Blue Blazers.

“I feel more ready because of all the opportunities I’ve gotten here. I feel like I can speak now and email professors and it’s not awkward,” Cawthon said.

After graduation, Cawthon plans on transferring to the University of Texas at Austin for her bachelors and masters degrees, and then on to get her PhD. She is passionate about literature and wants to pass on her love for books by teaching at a big university. 

“I think it’s really important to keep literature alive. I think that there’s been a renaissance recently and I think that it’s my job as someone who likes books to continue to spread that and find like 

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