34 students earn degrees at Truckee’s Sierra College | SierraSun.com

34 students earn degrees at Truckee’s Sierra College

More than 130 people were on hand for the 2015 graduation ceremony.
Courtesy Cody Kerby |

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Ember Montana was beaming with pride as she walked across the stage to receive her associate’s degree in Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Afterwards she remarked, “I credit Sierra College with my intellectual rebirth. I have been so inspired by the high quality professors and personal attention.”

Montana was one of 34 students to celebrate their accomplishments during the sixth graduation ceremony on the Tahoe-Truckee campus of Sierra College.

Eleven students were also recognized for completing their Accounting Skills Certificates, and one for a Mechatronics Certificate.

Board of Trustees representative Dave Ferrari served as Master of Ceremonies for what was described by a graduate’s mother as a “classy but personal” event.

More than 130 people were seated in the Commons area, decorated with plants generously donated by The Villager Nursery.

Dr. Kim Bateman, dean of the campus, delivered a humorous and inspirational speech.

In it, she said, “I am impressed with this class. They know that a vision of life that is constructed online, and begins with the self and ends with the self is not very sustaining. For this class, quality of life is defined by how deeply rooted you are, the commitments you make and keep, and the connections you tend.”

Bateman assured the graduates: “There is a place for you and your gifts in the family of things.”

Kristine Keck was chosen as the Class of 2015’s student speaker. She earned this honor by working a full-time job, raising two children, participating in community service and maintaining a 4.0 GPA.

In an impassioned speech, she described her movement from a person who “wasn’t much of a student” to someone who “does nothing halfway.”

The single mom began at Sierra College at age 30, and has earned an accounting degree. She implored her fellow students to “just keep going.”

Eighty percent of the graduates, who were honored in individualized descriptions as they walked, are transferring to four-year institutions.

Fiona DelForge will attend Chico State in the fall, pursuing a degree in School Psychology. Kapra Cooley-Rieders, Monica Zepeda, Elyssa Babcock, Annabella Angel, Kristine Keck, Laura Christiansen, Yanina Virrey and Jenny Estrada will continue their studies at UNR.

And, Ember Montana will transfer to Sonoma State to double major in History and English.

Others destination include Sacramento State and the San Diego State.

President Willy Duncan was visibly moved by the ceremony and commented, “Each one of these students has an inspirational story to tell. It is a proud day for them, their families, and this college.”

This article was submitted by Sierra College, Tahoe-Truckee, a community college serving the Truckee, North Tahoe, Summit and Sierra Valley areas. It offers more than 60 on-ground classes in 10 majors and four certificate programs. Summer and fall semester enrollment is open now. Visit the campus at 11001 College Trail, Truckee, or visit sierracollege.edu.

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