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Halifax Community College confers degrees, certificates and diplomas to the Class of 2009


Halifax Community College (HCC) graduates of the class of 2009 were eager to march across the stage Saturday, May 9, in The Centre as they accepted certificates, diplomas and degrees. This year, there were 473 graduates awarded credentials including 62 GEDs, 44 diplomas, 257 certificates, and 110 associate degrees. During the ceremony, more than 180 students and nearly 100 family members and friends participated in the event.


Shelia Moses, a National Book Finalist, author, playwright and producer gave the commencement address. She explained that HCC held a special place in her heart. Growing up in Rich Square on a farm meant traveling to town to Roses to buy clothes to go back to school. In order to get to town, she passed HCC—it was the first college she saw and that had a lasting impact on her. Moses emphasized the theme of being on one’s way, “When you leave here today, you don’t leave here empty-handed; you will leave with a piece of paper. That piece of paper is like having a first class ticket in your pocket all the time. You can go on the plane before anyone else and you’ll get the best meal. You can get off the plane first because you’ve paid for that flight,” she added.


Moses also talked about setting oneself apart from the rest and how earning a credential can help graduates, especially in the current economic downturn. “You have put yourself on the other side of the fence. On the other side of that fence, the grass is so much greener and the barn is brighter red,” said Moses. By earning college credits, graduates have shown that they want something different and better. “Run fast class of 2009. Dance with the wind class of 2009. Never say never and always do your best,” she advised. At the conclusion of her remarks, HCC President, Dr. Ervin V. Griffin Sr. presented Moses with the first HCC medal.


Vice President of Engagement and Strategic Innovation with the North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS) Linda Weiner brought greetings from NCCCS. “Success is what community colleges are all about,” said Weiner who talked about the new Creating Success campaign being undertaken by the state’s community colleges. “I thank you for what you have done while you were here at Halifax Community College because I know it is stronger for the legacy that each one of you leaves. Lastly, I thank you for what you will do as you turn your tassel, walk from this campus and take your spot in the next stage of your life,” she added.


Griffin also recognized recipients of the third annual Presidential Partnership Award. The award recognizes organizations that assist HCC in fulfilling its mission. In 1988, the state board of education and community college boards adopted an official statement of purpose for the Huskins Cooperative Program. The program provides for the enrichment of high school students through college level academic, technical and advanced vocational courses not otherwise available to them. Local administration boards and school boards have established cooperative programs in the areas they serve to provide college courses to qualified high school students and credits awarded to students with the successful completion of coursework. HCC has enrolled more than 700 high school students since fall 2006 in this program. Glenn Wiggs of Halifax Academy, Geraldine Middleton of Halifax County Schools, William Whitehurst of Hobgood Academy, Dr. Eric Bracey of Northampton County Schools, Dennis Sawyer of Roanoke Rapids Graded School District, and Dr. Eli Bracey of Weldon City Schools were presented the award for partnering with HCC in the Huskins Cooperative Program.


Griffin also gave the charge to the graduates. He thanked graduates for being a part of the HCC family and choosing to continue their educational journey at the college. “This truly is just a beginning. …If education at Halifax Community College has any single goal it is to encourage students like you to know how to ask questions and know how to go about getting the right answers to their questions. It is not enough to look straight ahead and never look around. It is not enough to breathe a sigh and figure your learning days are over,” he said. “Learning is a life-long endeavor.” He added that finding solutions to problems will take hard work. “If it comes easy, we will question it. If it comes hard, we will work for it. And when it comes, we will enjoy it for graduation indeed is yours today.”


Graduate Theresa Raymond, who is also the Student Government Association president, gave the student response. “This did not come easy. It required a lot of work and a lot of dedication. But it didn’t just require the work and dedication on our part. The work and dedication came from our children, our siblings, our parents, our spouses, our instructors, administration—anyone who came in contact with us.” She thanked the faculty, families, and the graduates’ children for their support and understanding during the college experience. She added that in order to achieve goals, sacrifice is required. “In the future, we will continue to sacrifice so that we can achieve our goals…and work hard so that everyone here at Halifax Community College can be proud,” said Raymond.

Graduation 2009 Photo Slideshow

Shiela Moses

National Book Finalist, author, playwright and producer Shelia P. Moses addressed HCC graduates during commencement exercises, May 9.


Dr. Griffin Presidential Partnership Awards

Dr. Griffin presented the Presidential Partnership Award to local school officials. Pictured from left, Dr. Griffin, Geraldine Middleton, Dr. Eli Bracey, Dr. Eric Bracey, William Whitehurst, and Glenn Wiggs.