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Shea Johnson, Desert Dispatch
Graduates and supporters stand for the Pledge of Allegiance on Friday night at the beginning of Barstow Community College's 52nd commencement ceremony.

BCC celebrates grads

Degree, certificate-earners recognized at 52nd ceremony


BARSTOW • Approximately 242 students, a majority from Barstow Community College and others from Park University campuses, earned degrees and certificates during a joint graduation ceremony at the college Friday night.

“It’s been a great two-and-a-half years,” Associated Student Body President Antoinette Williams said while she waited outside the S1 building 20 minutes before all graduates would enter the nearby James R. Parks Gymnasium.

Williams, 20, earned an associate of arts in social science and will attend Azusa Pacific University in the fall to study psychology, she said.

“I’m excited to graduate in the time that I did,” she explained, noting that it might act to encourage others.

Fellow graduates Michael Lienert, Noelani Lelimene and Mark Marinch were the spring class of 2013 valedictorians.

Marinch, who played baseball at BCC and was named to the 2013 Academic All State Team, urged fellow graduates to fight temptation to be complacent post-graduation.

“And now, as we continue forward, I would like to remind you all that glory is fleeting,” part of his speech read, as provided by college spokeswoman Maureen Stokes. “Fleeting in the sense that, yes, you have all accomplished something great today, but do not get complacent. Take the tools you learned here, the discipline and the work ethic, and continue to refine your goals as we move forward.”

For 16-year-old Miranda Wessel-Allmon, resting on her laurels seemed unlikely.

Wessel-Allmon took concurrent courses at BCC while enrolled at Central High School and earned her high school diploma there last year, she said.

After graduating Friday night with an associate of arts in social science degree, she plans to return for a second associate degree — this time in business.

“I’m excited,” she said. “It’s definitely special.”

Among the other graduates, ranging in age from 14 to 55, were two sisters accepted into University of California, Berkeley, and two brothers heading to UCLA, according to Stokes.

Six graduates were also recipients of the newly offered Associate of Arts Degree for Transfer (AA-T) — a degree which guarantees admission from a community college to a California State University with junior standing and the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree in a lean 120 units.

The transfer degree was formed in collaboration between California Community Colleges and CSU leaders and implemented at BCC last fall, according to previous reports.

Following the ceremony, BCC’s Associated Student Body hosted a reception inside the college’s interim performing arts center.

Shea Johnson can be reached at or 760-256-4126.

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