FAIRFIELD — Krystal Jackson had reason to celebrate Wednesday morning.
The 27-year-old’s graduation from Solano Community College with two associate degrees was 10 years in the making as the busy Fairfield woman juggled a full-time job, the Air Force Reserve, a young toddler and a baby on the way.
“This is a long time coming,” she said as she walked toward the graduate lineup with her husband, Searcy Jackson IV, and 2-year-old Searcy Jackson V.
Her husband added, “It’s going to be a great day. I’m glad it’s finally here.”
Jackson was among the 450 graduates to attend Solano College’s 68th commencement on the blustery, blue-sky morning. A total of 2,114 students were in the class of 2014. Many earned several associate degrees with plans to go straight into the workforce, or like Jackson, continue with their education.
The students heard several words of encouragement from speakers, including the college president, Jowel Laguerre, who said, “Some of you started this journey two years ago, others of you have tread a much longer journey. You went through trials and tribulations often juggling a full-time job or multiple jobs and school. Some of you had not only jobs and school to balance, but also had family responsibilities at as well.”
Heather McCurry, a nursing graduate, spent her first two years at Solano College earning three associate degrees that included her nursing prerequisites. She went through graduation in 2012 but standing in line with the class of 2014, poised to take her test for her nursing license, is what she had been waiting for.
“It’s just more exciting because I got what I came for,” she said of her nursing degree.
The college also acknowledged four honorary graduates for their work in the community.
Judi Honeychurch, Buck Kamphausen, Verna Mustico and Richard Rico were this year’s honorees. Each gave an encouraging speech to the graduates after accepting their diplomas. Some offered a “to-do” list, going from the fun to the serious, and others offered advice through snippets of their own life.
Two students, Eric J. Gentry and Al L. Nutt, gave student commencement addresses. Both kept the hundreds of soon-to-be graduates entertained, offering several laugh-out-loud moments. Gentry spoke about his young school life and said there was a common theme in report cards – not working to his potential. He ended up dropping out of high school, going to work and then sitting in prison for six years. He began to think about going back to school – now he’s leaving Solano College with two associate degrees and a 4.0 grade point average, he said to the audience.
“The desire to learn was always there, I just never applied myself,” he said.
For those who missed the graduation ceremony, it will be available on YouTube with a link from the college’s home page, www.solano.edu, by the weekend.
Reach Susan Winlow at 427-6955 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/swinlowdr.