Wake Tech News


College Celebrates Spring Graduates

RALEIGH, N.C. (May 4, 2024) – Hundreds of graduates turned their tassels, posed for pictures and celebrated with family and friends Saturday at Wake Tech's Spring Commencement exercises.

Three ceremonies were held in the gymnasium at Scott Northern Wake Campus. Families and friends watched with pride as graduates ranging in age from 16 to 74 walked across the stage to shake hands with Wake Tech President Dr. Scott Ralls. 

Ralls congratulated the graduates on their accomplishments.

"I often say that graduation is my favorite day at Wake Tech," he said. "All of you have worked very hard to get to this moment. We see you and believe in you and are very proud of you! Congratulations – it's time to celebrate!"

In all, more than 1,600 graduates received degrees and diplomas. The celebration featured the first graduating class of a new degree program at Wake Tech: Paralegal Technology

Student speakers, including Grace Linares, shared personal stories of success. Linares completed an Associate in Arts degree and is the first college graduate in her family. She participated in the Carolina Student Transfer Excellence Program, which offers a pathway for Wake Tech students to transfer to and graduate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She also worked as a peer mentor with Wake Tech's Care Center, which provides students with wraparound support services. She served as vice president of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society and was a lab tech assistant in the Chemistry and Biology labs on RTP Campus. Linares plans to transfer to UNC-Chapel Hill to earn a bachelor's degree in nursing degree and become a nurse practitioner.

"As we prepare to venture into new endeavors, pursuing higher education or entering the workforce, remember that our journey doesn't end here at Wake Tech," she said. "It's a steppingstone to even greater accomplishments."

Enrique Hernandez is also a first-generation college graduate. He is among 107 graduates from Wake Tech's Cooperative Innovative High Schools – Wake Early College of Health and Sciences, North Wake College and Career Academy and Vernon Malone College and Career Academy (VMCCA). Students complete the requirements for high school graduation while earning college credits that can be applied toward an associate degree, diploma or certificate at Wake Tech.

Hernandez earned an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree in Facility Maintenance Technology in addition to completing a high school diploma at VMCCA. He got an internship at a commercial HVAC company the summer before his junior year that turned into a full-time job. He is now an HVAC technician and loves it.

"Juggling classes and work wasn't easy, but it was worth it," he said. "It gives me an amazing feeling to get a unit up and running for a customer, and I hope to open my own business someday. Wake Tech and Vernon Malone helped me see a path to a bright future!" 

The Spring graduates also include 13 Career and College Promise (CCP) students from high schools across Wake County. These CCP students finished an associate degree – tuition-free – while attending traditional high school.

Paul P. Buck, a retired Army colonel, is one of Wake Tech's young-at-heart graduates. Buck, who is 74, completed an AAS degree in Health and Fitness Science. He is one of 52 student veterans who graduated this semester. He offered advice during a special recognition ceremony held earlier in the week. 

"Fellow graduating veterans, I am happy to be part of celebrating your achievements," he said. "Just as you defended our nation, now you have a mission to serve our community as graduates. You have the power to change the world!"

Four students who enrolled as part of Wake Tech's Fostering Bright Futures program beat the odds and earned AAS degrees. Fostering Bright Futures helps former foster youth achieve their goals. Amadou Diarra in Automotive Systems Technology, Jake Cyr in Welding Technology, Selina Garcia in Medical Office Administration and Tiara McFarland in Criminal Justice Technology.

A day before the commencement exercises, special pinning ceremonies were held for Health Sciences programs at the Perry Health Sciences Campus in Raleigh, including Medical Laboratory Technology, Neurodiagnostic Technology, Radiography, Sonography, Dental Hygiene and Nursing.  

Wake Tech offers programs in 13 career fields, including Advanced Manufacturing, Biotechnology, Business, Construction and Maintenance, Education, Engineering, Health Care and Wellness, Information and Digital Technology and Public Safety.

New students can apply now at apply.waketech.edu. The fall semester begins August 15, when Wake Tech will welcome its first students at Wake Tech East, the college's newest location in Wendell.

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April 2024

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