FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. – Soldiers, family members and civilians earning degrees in classes 2021 and 2022 united at a Joint College Commencement Ceremony hosted by Education Services on Sept. 1 at Fitch Auditorium.
Col. John Ives, garrison commander, along with representatives from the education center and liaisons from four college programs were present to celebrate and bestow diplomas to five graduates.
"These graduates preparing to walk are superheroes!" exclaimed Erin R. Beam, chief of Education Services. "Yes. You are superheroes!
"Someone with extraordinary abilities, courage, a fighting spirit and mental stability," she explained. "Those are the traits in each of you."
Beam told the students to imagine what a superhero might say to commend them on their success.
Among the superhero, power quotes Beam recited, one by Iron Man was especially relevant; "Heroes are made by the paths they choose, not the powers they are graced with."
She admitted the path, commitment, effort and sacrifices students endure for higher education often supersedes analogies, even those imagined by Marvel or DC Comics.
Each student is set for a dynamic future and career – and one can fly.
Undergraduate students included: Jeffrey Honeycutt graduated with honors from Liberty University, obtaining a Bachelor of Science in aviation and a commercial pilot certification; Maria Jimenez received her Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of Florida; Candy Perez Olivares obtained a Bachelor of Arts in English from Louisiana State University-Alexandria; Samantha Linder, the ceremony's student speaker, finished a Bachelor of Science in interdisciplinary studies from Liberty University.
Graduate student Jason Vaughn received his Master of Arts in human resource development from Webster University.
"Your desire and resolution to succeed brought you to where you are today," said honorary guest speaker, Dr. Linda L. Denno, civilian aide to the Secretary of the Army for southern Arizona. "It is the same resolution to succeed – knowing you've done it – that will carry you through your life."
"Although we think of commencements as the finish, we should remember commencements are about beginnings," she advised.
"As we pause to celebrate all you accomplished, think beyond this current moment to the future ahead."
Denno, who also serves as an associate dean of academics and faculty at the University of Arizona’s College of Applied Science and Technology in Sierra Vista, Arizona, said all the effort, hard work and sacrifices paint a brighter future for the graduates.
"You are in a better position today to realize dreams and aspirations, to find success and fulfillment in the career of your choice, and make a difference in the world around you," she added. "You have already shown your commitment to making that difference."
Across the military, students often take a nontraditional route to accomplish credits and continue studies toward a degree.
"My path in my college career has not been linear, to say the least," said student speaker Samantha Linder.
Linder, her husband and two children move frequently as a military family
"Between not knowing what I wanted to be when I grew up and moving all over the United States, it hasn't been the quickest or easiest path to graduation," she said.
"I had started and stopped school, changed degree plans and transferred lost credits over the years," Linder lamented.
"But, I did it! That is what matters. Finishing - by never giving up and pushing through," she said.
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Fort Huachuca is home to the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence, the U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM)/9th Army Signal Command and more than 48 supported tenants representing a diverse, multiservice population. Our unique environment encompasses 946 square miles of restricted airspace and 2,500 square miles of protected electronic ranges, key components to the national defense mission.
Located in Cochise County, in southeast Arizona, about 15 miles north of the border with Mexico, Fort Huachuca is an Army installation with a rich frontier history. Established in 1877, the Fort was declared a national landmark in 1976.
We are the Army’s Home. Learn more at https://home.army.mil/huachuca/.