Pasco-Hernando Community College will hold its winter commencement on Wednesday, December 11, in the Physical Fitness Center (gym) at the West Campus in New Port Richey, 10230 Ridge Road. Two separate ceremonies will accommodate a growing number of graduating students and their families and friends. The events also will be live streamed on the Internet at www.phcc.edu/news/webcast-live.
The commencement ceremony for candidates earning their Associate in Science (AS) degree, Associated in Applied Science degree, Applied Technology diploma, certificate or GED will be held at 10:30 a.m. The ceremony for candidates earning their Associate in Arts (AA) degree will be held at 4 p.m.
This year’s graduates include students who pursued their academic goals despite roadblocks and adversity.
Bill Yagmin, 50, of Weeki Wachee, is the student speaker for the morning ceremony. He will graduate with honors earning an AS degree in radiography. The first in his family to receive a college degree, Yagmin is president of Lambda Nu National Honor Society for the radiologic and imaging sciences. He served as vice president of the Student Government Association (SGA) at PHCC’s Spring Hill Campus and was awarded the Dr. Felisha R. Barker outstanding student leader award in 2012. Yagmin plans to pursue his BS degree.
Veton Krasniqi, 20, Spring Hill, is the student speaker for the afternoon ceremony. He will graduate with an AA degree. Krasniqi has been treasurer, vice president and president for both the Spring Hill Campus Phi Beta Lambda Chapter and SGA. Krasniqi moved to the United States in 1999, escaping the Kosovo War. Krasniqi’s ultimate life goal is to become the CEO of Google.
Angela Rodriguez, 69, of Spring Hill, will receive an AS degree. Rodriguez worked hard to support her two daughters through college. An illness that resulted in the death of her husband delayed her pursuit for education. Rodriguez—a Brighthouse Networks scholarship recipient —is a nontraditional student, having received her GED through Nature Coast Technical School Adult Education Center in 2008.
A member of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Steven Landseadel, 39, of Spring Hill, will receive his AA degree with honors. As a single parent working several dead-end jobs, Landseadel said, “Going back to school seemed to be the logical place to improve one’s life circumstances.” His job as a work-study student at the Rao Musunuru, M.D. Art Gallery at PHCC’s West Campus has been rewarding, matching his “passion for creating and immersing myself in art.” A staff member of Möbius, PHCC’s award-winning art and literature magazine, Landseadel’s artwork is on display in the current art exhibit, Möbius: Past & Present. He plans to transfer to the University of South Florida to study fine art.
Dominique Phillips-Alvarez, 31, of Spring Hill, will graduate with an AA degree. She struggled as a student, switching from nursing to business administration while traveling between Fla. and S.C. to be with her ill grandfather. In the meantime, she gave birth to her first child and opened her own business, OrgaWize by Domi. Phillips-Alvarez continues to manage her independent business helping residential and commercial businesses to get organized, while working part time in the PHCC Student Activities department. She is a member of Psi Beta, PTK, and Phi Beta Lambda Future Business Leaders of America and served as treasurer in PTK and vice president in DECA, formerly known as Delta Epsilon Chi. Phillips-Alvarez enjoyed her role as a student ambassador in 2010-2011, becoming the first lead ambassador. She plans to pursue PHCC’s proposed Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Supervision and Management, to begin in August 2014.
Maria Pina, of Spring Hill, will graduate with an AS degree in nursing. Prior to attending PHCC, Pina graduated cum laude from Brooklyn College with a Bachelor of Science in Education and earned a dual Master of Science in Education/Special Education. For more than two decades, she taught English and computer literacy in metropolitan New York and in Pasco County, Fla., where she relocated in 2001. Pina became a medical transcriptionist and received her AS degree in health information management in 2010. That same year, the loss of her job, home and marriage resulted in change. “These events gave me a heightened sense of empathy toward others experiencing adversity and I felt an overwhelming desire to become an agent of relief and compassion. My graduation from PHCC is a celebration of triumph over tribulation!” said Pina. Her two children also completed the RN program at PHCC; Thomas Pina, RN (2010) and Leanna Pina, RN (2011).
Graduation speakers will include: John DiRienzo, Jr., District Board of Trustees Chair; Michelle Beermann, Associate Professor of Mathematics and Faculty Senate President; Reflections speaker Bonnie Clark, Ed.D., Spring Hill Campus Provost; and student speakers Veton Krasniqi and Bill Yagmin. Approximately 285 degrees and certificates will be conferred at the ceremony. An estimated total of 1,159 summer and winter graduates are eligible to participate.