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Students graduate, celebrate at ECTC commencement

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By Kelly Cantrall

Almost 200 graduates walked the line into a new phase of their lives Monday as the school year ended at Elizabethtown Community and Technical College.

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The commencement ceremony for ECTC took place at Central Hardin High School. There were 186 graduates who participated in the ceremony, of 898 students graduating from the college this year.

David Wallace, retired chairman of Nabors Completion & Production Services Company, gave the commencement address. He is a 1974 ECTC graduate and was named a distinguished alumnus in 2010.

Wallace encouraged graduates to open their own doors to success, he said. He spoke of his past willingness to step up and work outside his job description to be noticed. He told the graduates to “get to work early, make the coffee, take out the trash” to further their careers.

“You’ll be surprised by how many people will observe your actions,” he said.

He referred to it as a “lead by serving” philosophy, and told students they could lead in any position.

“I challenge you, the Class of 2013, to seek the opportunity to open the door” to their own success, he said.

Many of the graduates already were working to open those doors by attending ECTC. Oralia Barrera of Springfield earned a business administration degree in accounting. She plans to get a bachelor’s degree in human resources. Her family motivated her to go to school.

“Well, I have four kids so I want to provide them something better,” Barrera said.

Rebekah Watts of Radcliff also has four children. She wanted to advance her education beyond a high school diploma, and “just really kind of pushed myself to have a different kind of life,” she said.

Teddy Cooper of Fort Knox is in the Warrior Transition Battalion for wounded warriors, after sustaining injuries in Afghanistan. Cooper wanted to go back to school to learn new skills and is planning on working in education. He said with his life experiences, he wanted to work with children and “be a good role model.”

Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or kcantrall@thenewsenterprise.com.