McElveen, Baartman urge graduates to look to the future

More than 570 students graduated from Central Carolina Technical College this week, and the College celebrated those graduates in two separate commencement ceremonies on Friday, May 10, 2013. During the morning ceremony, the keynote address was delivered by Senator Thomas McElveen, while graduates at the afternoon ceremony were addressed by Craig Baartman of Continental Tire

During his address to the morning ceremony, Senator McElveen expressed pride for the graduates and their accomplishments to date, but also urged them to continue their hard work into the future.

"Today is a celebration of what you have accomplished to get to this point in your lives. But it is also a nice time to talk about what you will accomplish in the future," he said.

"I want to speak to you briefly about to two things that are very important to me, and I hope they are important to you: Service and citizenship," and he used a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to illustrate his point.

"My favorite quote from Dr. King is this: 'Life's most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?' At the end of the day, that's what service and citizenship boil down to isn't it? What can you do to make someone else’s life better, and what are you doing to make the world a better place?" McElveen said.

McElveen also praised the class for helping to make Central Carolina Technical College an important part of the economies and development of the local area and the state.

"Because of what you will continue to do, this college will continue to thrive and have a prominent role in the future development and progress of our great state," McElveen said.

In the afternoon ceremony, Craig Baartman of Continental Tire congratulated the graduates on their exceptional accomplishments.

"I know you have all worked very hard to be here today, with the support of your families, your tutors, and your friends. And you have reached a significant milestone in your life-long journey," Baartman said.

"As you take the next step in your life, I want to share four topics with you today: Passion to Win; Trust, Freedom to Act; and For One Another. These are the core values of the Continental Corporation, and they are also excellent ideals to instill in yourself to take further," he said.

Baartman also praised Central Carolina Technical College as a key partner in Continental's efforts to locate and begin operations in Sumter County.

"Finding and keeping employees with the correct skillsets, knowledge and work ethic is crucial to the success of our facility, and Central Carolina Technical College has played a huge role in helping us seek local talent, like all of you," Baartman said.

In closing, Baartman challenge the graduates to say "Yes" and accept every challenge before them.

"I want to leave you with two comments. When was the last time you thought to yourself and referenced the word 'No'? What did you gain from saying 'No'? What did you lose from saying 'No'?" On the converse, what is the impact of the word 'Yes'? Because doing the right thing is always the right thing to do," he said.

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© 2014 Central Carolina Technical College

Date/Time Published:10/9/2014 2:08