Glendale Community College celebrated more than 700 graduates Wednesday during its commencement ceremony, and the evening was dedicated to John Davitt, who passed away last month after serving as the college's superintendent and president for over 20 years, from 1985 to 2006.
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It also marked the first ceremony under the leadership of the college's new Supt./President David Viar, who said the youngest graduate to take the stage during the ceremony was 18 and the oldest was 82.
"We do believe in lifelong learning at Glendale Community College," Viar said. "You can never stop learning."
Alice Babaian, 49, earned an associate's degree after studying for 3 1/2 years at the college.
When she enrolled, the mother of two teenagers had recently moved to the United States from Iran and didn't know much English. Now she hopes to secure a job working in an office.
"I had a very hard time, but finally — I finished," she said. "If you want something, you can do it."
Elizabeth Jareno, who came to the United States from the Philippines several years ago, studied child development to pursue her dream of becoming a preschool teacher. She currently works at Disney's child-care center in Burbank.
"It's just a great feeling," Jareno said of graduating. "If not for the college professors and the things I learned at [Glendale Community College], I would not have landed in a very good company. I was given all the support to pursue my dreams — being a preschool teacher. And here I am right now."
Fellow graduate Antonio Vielman, who is applying to become a police officer with the Los Angeles Police Department, studied social science at the Glendale campus.
"This is the first stepping stone for the rest of our careers. It's not just any other college," he said of Glendale Community College. "It gives you life experience."
He also wished current students and those who will be new to the campus success as they pursue their degrees.
"It's definitely a good choice for a community college," he said.
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