MONTPELIER, Vt. — The Community College of Vermont (CCV) held a virtual celebration today for the Class of 2021 and the Class of 2020.

From the Class of 2021, more than 450 students from across the state received associate degrees. Graduates represent all 14 Vermont counties, 10 states, and 15 countries. The youngest graduate is 17 and the oldest is 78. Also among the graduates are 23 veterans and active members of the military.

The celebration also recognized more than 400 graduates from the Class of 2020, which includes graduates from all 14 Vermont counties, 12 states, and 14 countries. The youngest member of the Class of 2020 is 19 and the oldest is 86. The class also includes 27 veterans and active members of the military.

Governor Phil Scott addressed the graduates, and CCV President Joyce Judy officiated the event.

Governor Scott congratulated graduates and offered lessons on leadership. “Sometimes you have to dig deep, you have to challenge your own instincts, be willing to learn and take in new information, listen to different perspectives, before doing what you think is right,” he said. “And that’s true whether you’re just starting out your career in your twenties, or embarking on a new opportunity later in life. I’m confident CCV has given you the tools you need to succeed, and the lessons you’ve learned will help guide the way for years to come.”

President Judy acknowledged the resilience and determination of graduates. “Today we pause to celebrate not only what you have accomplished, but how,” she said. “Your graduation is a time to reflect on the classes you have taken, the tests and papers you have completed, and the knowledge you have gained. It is also a time to recognize the spirit of perseverance that has helped so many of you accomplish this goal despite the many obstacles and challenges you faced along the way.”

CCV-Newport graduate Amanda Letourneau was the Class of 2020 student speaker. “Whatever your journey may be after today, whatever your next adventure is, I hope wholeheartedly that you accept whatever comes your way, and you accept help if you need it,” she said. She also encouraged graduates to keep going. “Remember, today is a milestone. It tells us how far we’ve come. Keep learning, keep trying, keep accomplishing. Keep on traveling on your journey, whatever that journey may be. Never give up on your dreams, big or small.”

The Class of 2021 student speaker was Ashleigh du Plessis, from the College’s Upper Valley academic center. An international student from South Africa, Ashleigh urged her peers to hold onto what they’ve learned. “Being a student during the pandemic meant the introduction of remote learning technologies and different study methods. We learned to understand the value in checking in on one another, and we discovered resources that could support both our educational and mental well-being. Resources like these will still be available to us after graduation, so don’t forget about them.” She added, “Don’t stop learning…Take every opportunity to apply your new skills, share your knowledge, and then look for ways to learn some more.”

Several individuals were recognized for both academic accomplishments and community service.

Social and racial justice advocate Patricia Fontaine received the Community Service Award. A former CCV faculty member, Fontaine has given generously to the College, enabling CCV to expand student support services and student leadership opportunities.

Barbara Benedict, president of the J. Warren and Lois McClure Foundation, received a special Impact Award given in honor of the College’s 50th anniversary in 2020. Benedict and the McClure Foundation are strong partners of CCV in working to provide access to postsecondary education and training for all Vermonters.

CCV-Rutland faculty member Pam Monder received the Faculty Community Service Award. A CCV instructor since 2006, Monder also serves as advisor of CCV’s Student Advisory and Leadership Council as well as the CCV chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society.

CCV-Brattleboro graduate T.K. Lahey received the 2020 Student Service Award, and CCV-Winooski graduate Madeline Marquardt and CCV-Montpelier graduate Erik Dorfman received the 2021 Student Service Award. For the Class of 2020, Maija Chamberlain of CCV-Middlebury and Kaleigh Nutting of CCV-Newport received Alumni Scholarships. CCV-Winooski graduate Sophie Decker and CCV-Middlebury graduate Mariah Malloy received the 2021 Alumni Scholarships.

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