Events

College Honors Spring Graduates with Hybrid-Style Commencement Celebrations

College Holds Both In-Person and Virtual Graduation Ceremonies

RALEIGH, N.C. (May 8, 2021) – Lots of cheers, applause, and fist bumps today as Wake Tech students gathered outside to celebrate their accomplishments at the college’s first in-person commencement celebration since before the pandemic.

Two separate in-person ceremonies were held in a courtyard at the Scott Northern Wake Campus. About 200 students participated in each event, which allowed them to walk across a stage and receive their degree or diploma cover and take a picture with Wake Tech President Dr. Scott Ralls.

Dr. Ralls congratulated the students on their success, especially after the challenges of learning during a pandemic. “We are so proud of your resilience and dedication. Today is a celebration of your accomplishments,” Dr. Ralls said. “Congratulations to the newest Wake Tech graduates!”

Students and staff followed social distancing guidelines and guests remained in their cars. Several families greeted new graduates in the parking lot with hugs, flowers, and balloons.

In all, more than 1,500 students ranging in age from 17-67 received their associate degree or diploma in an array of areas including university transfer and technical programs such as health sciences, skilled trades, business and public services technologies, and information technology.

One of the graduates, Linda Yon, who is 67 years-young, is an example of how determination and perseverance pay off. Yon earned her Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree in Early Childhood Education at her own pace so she could operate her in-home daycare and care for family. After eight years of pursuit, she was excited to walk across the stage. “I feel great,” she said. “It took me a little longer to finish my degree because of life situations, but I want others to know that it’s never too late.”

Sixty-three graduates of Wake Tech’s Martha Mann Smith School of Nursing are ready to enter the workforce prior to taking their licensure exam to help support healthcare workers, especially those treating patients with COVID-19.

Six members of the Class of 2021 have been selected as Goodnight Transfer Scholars at NC State. The prestigious Goodnight Scholarship is valued at $20,500 per year and is renewable for up to three years. Two of the recipients – Cameron Stephens and Morgan Stephens – are siblings and the first sibling pair to enter the Goodnight Transfer program in the same year. Cameron plans to study physics, while Morgan will be a chemical engineering major. Wake Tech’s other Goodnight Scholars are: Jacob Peterson, Sarah Vessey, Jennifer Jimenez and Michael Nunez.

Graduates also included six students who got their start at the Vernon Malone College and Career Academy. They have completed a variety of degrees including Cosmetology, Simulation and Game Development, and Electrical Technology.

The college also celebrated the graduates with a pre-recorded commencement event that included graduate photos and special videos. It can be viewed at graduation.waketech.edu.

The virtual celebration featured a video of one of Wake Tech’s best and brightest. Trent Taylor shared his journey from foster care to Wake Tech’s first graduate to be named a Hites Scholar. The Hites Scholarship is the highest honor awarded by Phi Theta Kappa, the premier honor society recognizing the academic achievement of students at two-year colleges. The scholarship will help Taylor with expenses when he transfers to Arizona State University to pursue a degree in counseling. At Wake Tech, he was part of the Fostering Bright Futures program, which supports former foster youth in their quest to achieve a college degree.

Meanwhile, Wake Tech’s non-degree College and Career Readiness program also hosted a graduation ceremony today. The curbside event was held at the Beltline Education Center. More than 60 graduates of Wake Tech’s High School Equivalency and Adult High School programs celebrated reaching their academic goals despite the challenges created by the pandemic. Graduates walked across a stage while family and friends watched from their vehicles, or the college’s live stream. Graduates included 61 High School Equivalency graduates, including 27 from the High School Equivalency Program (HEP) for seasonal and migrant workers, as well as seven from the Adult High School Program. 

With Wake Tech’s spring graduation complete, registration for summer and fall classes is in full swing.

Wake Tech is offering a robust mix of online and hybrid classes for the 10-week summer session that begins May 19. The college invites university students who are home for the summer to take a class at Wake Tech to get ahead on their four-year degree. Accelerated eight- and five-week sessions are also available. Learn more at summer.waketech.edu.

The college is also registering students for fall semester, which starts August 16. Wake Tech is planning to resume full operations in the fall, thanks to the decline in COVID cases and the increased availability of vaccines. Read more about what to expect in the fall semester in Wake Tech’s Learn Well Fall 2021 Plan. New students can apply now at apply.waketech.edu.