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Palau Community College (PCC) held its 50th Commencement Exercises at the PCC Cafeteria this past Friday (May 24, 2013). A total of 132 graduates received their degrees and certificates: 100 PCC graduates, 7 PCC & MOH Substance Abuse and Addiction Treatment Counseling Program graduates, and 25 Adult High School graduates. Included in the crowd of proud friends and families were honored guests, ranging from Palauan government officials to educators to the Diplomatic Corps.
The ceremony began with the processional marching in of graduates from the different PCC schools: School of Arts and Sciences, School of Business, and School of Technical Education; also included were those who passed the Ministry of Health Substance Abuse & Treatment Counseling Program and graduates of Adult High School.
A rendition of the Palau national anthem, under the direction of Associate Professor Howard Charles, was then performed by the PCC Music Club. Pastor Hiob Ngirachemoi gave the invocation before Dr. Patrick Tellei, President of PCC, opened with the welcoming remarks. The commencement speaker was then introduced by Summer R. Saunders, Student Trustee member of the PCC Board of Trustees.
Reverend Billy Kuartei, a member of the PCC Board of Trustees, was again given the honor of commencement speaker. He had spoken before at the 16th PCC Commencement Exercises to the graduating class of 1979 when he was the vice director of the College of Micronesia (COM) Board of Regents. Reverend Kuartei has had an extensive influence on the growth of Palau. Not only is he an elder pastor of the Koror Evangelical Church, Reverend Kuartei is also the chief negotiator for the Compact of Free Association. In the past he has served as school principal for Emmaus High School and Bethania High School, director of the College of Micronesia Board of Regents, political advisor, and Minister of Education. He is also one of the original framers of Palau’s constitution. Reverend Billy Kuartei became a member of the PCC Board of Trustees in 2011.
In his commencement address, Reverend Kuartei encouraged the graduating class to live by their passions instead of by the expectations of others for he has met many people, in his counseling experience, who did not enjoy the work they did. He told the graduating class that they will “eat the sandwich of their own making.” In other words, life is a result of their efforts. He also advised the graduates to do their works to the best of their abilities for it will be the basis for their future compliments. Reverend Kuartei emphasized the importance of family and remembering one’s roots. Without consideration for the humble beginnings, one cannot be thankful for the countless blessings. He congratulated the graduates for their efforts, commenting that PCC has done a sincere job in educating them all.
The valedictorian (also the recipient of the Outstanding Citizenship Award) of the PCC Class of 2013 was Kayleen J. Ongalibang. Ongalibang began her studies in Childhood Education in 2008. In 2007, she was employed by PCC. Today, she is an instructor at the Palau Community Action Agency (PCAA) center in Medalaii.
In her speech, Ongalibang encouraged her fellow graduates to be thankful for all the support they were given, especially at school and at home. She recognized the difficulties that came with life, sharing her personal struggles with being a working mother and a student. Though many challenges came about through the school years, Ongalibang commended each graduate for trying even when failure occurred over and over again. She believed that the graduates were just as qualified as any to inspire others. They did not “have to look for inspiration anymore, [for they had] the potential to make inspiration and contribution” to their society. To her fellow graduates, she advised each to be their own person for it is by being true to themselves that they can be great inspirations.
During the ceremony Dr. Tellei announced the departure of the Dean of Academic Affairs, Tutii Chilton. After years of working as an instructor and then a dean at the community college, Chilton has decided to take on a different path. Dr. Tellei expressed the school’s best wishes to Mr. Chilton, promising to always have an open door if ever he wanted to return again. Robert Ramarui will be the school’s temporary Dean of Academic Affairs until a permanent replacement can be found.
To commemorate the 50th Commencement Exercises, PCC published and distributed a book that highlights the schools 4,088 graduates from 1970 to 2013. The book also features graduates of the San Diego State University (SDSU) PCC Bachelor and Master Degree Program from 2003 to 2011 (66 masters and 56 bachelors), and graduates of the Fiji School of Medicine in 2006. Copies were provided to the honored guests during the graduation ceremony. The public is informed that copies are available by contacting 488-2470/2471.
You can access the PDF files of PCC's weekly newsletter archive here.Mesekiu News