Each academic year, one of the great highlights for staff and faculty at the Manhattan Educational Opportunity Center, MEOC, is our commencement ceremony. This year, the ceremony was held on Wednesday, June 1 at 11:00am in Theatre One at the Borough of Manhattan Community College/CUNY in Lower Manhattan.
To the applause and cheering of friends and family, over 600 graduates were honored for completing their respective programs including English for Speakers of Other Languages, High School Equivalency, College Prep, Certified Nursing Assistant, Certified Microsoft® Office, Electronic Health Records, Civil Service Exam Prep and Security Officer Training. “I have my mom and grand-daughter with me today. And, they’re so proud,” said Claribel Pons, a student who completed the Electronic Health Records program. “On top of a great program, I get to attend graduation!”
On stage, BMCC’s President Antonio Perez, Associate Dean of Faculty, James Berg and SUNY’s Associate Provost Lisa McKay and her staff, Christopher Ellis, Karen Russo and Dr. Perkins and the MEOC’s Executive Director, Anthony Watson, and his staff witnessed the occasion.
Leroy Jemison, MEOC Lecturer, presented Jacqueline Gray with this year’s Valedictorian Award. “In the beginning, I did not think I could make it here since I’d been out of school for a number of years. But, my mom encouraged me to complete the program,” she said. “Success can be a moment away.”
Ronald Pettaway, Coordinator of Admissions and Recruitment, was the emcee for the morning and introduced the keynote speaker, Clayton Banks. Banks is the Founder, President of Ember Media Corporation, a development group that builds digital solutions for top brands and non-profit organizations. He is also Founder and Co-Executive Producer of Silicon Harlem, an innovative initiative to transform Harlem into a technology Hub.
Banks gave a powerful and thought-provoking speech on the Top 10 Things to Unlocking the World. The action-oriented list includes: ask for help, cherish your time, stay positive, focus on your potential, make good decisions, build character, be aware and in the present, believe in yourself, be fearless and remove your personal biases. He encouraged students to stay connected and take advantage of the electronic and digital access that we currently have.
The ceremony ended with an invitation for all to gather in the Richard Harris Terrace for lunch in honor of MEOC graduates.
SUNY Manhattan Educational Opportunity Center
163 West 125th Street, 15th Floor
New York, NY 10027