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GCC confers 380 degrees; local grads listed

A total of 380 graduates earned associate’s degrees from the college this year.

“You have learned how to learn. What you do with that knowledge and those skills is now really up to you,” said GCC President Robert Pura, who used a story of his father to illustrate the importance of working hard while also finding balance in life.

“I do not underestimate how difficult a task all of this will be in this country and in this economy — but that is my challenge to you,” he said. “I do have great faith in each one of you. Besides, you will have the rest of your life to work at it.”

Student speaker Erik Risinger, who will attend the University of Massachusetts in the fall, likened the future to a new product all of his peers had just purchased.

“Your future is, after all, only a container ... what you put there is up to you,” he said. “Please enjoy it, use it responsibly and don’t be afraid to test its limits, because it has none.”

And Anne Wiley, a retiring psychology and gender and women’s studies professor, told students to “create hope” in the world despite the many challenges that they will face. She urged them to be activists for increasing funding for public higher education and preserving face-to-face education in a growing world of large online courses.

GCC graduates

Area graduates included:

Amherst: Michael Posnik, Dexter Babione-Putnam, Lauretta M. Bete, Grace Evangelista, John L. Griffin, Bryon S. Hefner, Emily C. Juster, Anthony Kanaley, David J. Kris, Julian Lowenthal, Patrick S. MacNab, James E. Mawson, Edwin A. Osorio, Abdourahmane Sarr, Lacey K. Schmit, Katherine E. Soper, Brandon M. Sylvester, Andrew G. Teagno, Eric M. Toia, Ariel Wigdor, Jeongha Yoo.

Belchertown: Douglas G. Beach, Nathanael R. Burgess, Tracey M. Lawler, Lisa Morrin, Christopher D. Overstreet, Oliver A. Walz, Jessica L. Williams-Flowers.

Chesterfield: Melissa Jacoby, Graham C. Lawson.

Cummington: Taylor A, Granger.

Deerfield: Daniel J. Cleary, Hilary Terapane.

Easthampton: Courtney Krzanowski, Alisha C. Parent, Nicholas M. Pekar, Kyle R. Pouliot, Michael D. Roberts, Julie A. Vanasse, Heather L. Wozniak.

Florence: Dylan A. Belknap-Lerner, Elizabeth M. Boliver, Alyssa L. Dwyer, Terrance P. Foley, Emma N. Howard, Alexander J. Indyk-Zapka, Marci L. Katz, Diana M. Lorenzo, Leo T. Mammarella, James E. Rejniak, Ashley M. Shaffer, Kim Soule.

Granby: Michael Kappenman.

Hadley: Jennifer L. Gould, Chelsea E. Grybko, Danielle M. Hawley, Michael J. Churchill.

Haydenville: Ellemir L. Cignoni, Sharon E. Nagle.

Huntington: William A. Farris.

Leeds: Taylor S. Cook, Pamela S. Lapierre, Maria A. Steriti.

Leverett: Jon Foster, Sheila A. Kelliher, Aiyana A. McConnell-Beepath, Christopher M. Noble, Melissa Rennie.

Northampton: Youssef Benhatira, Marita K. Bianchi, Amber Boyle, Joshua M. Castillo, John Ferriter, Kathryn R. Lauer, Phillip J. Montano, M. Diane Reynolds, Erik A. Risinger, Cameron J. Roach, Colin A. Sohn, Albert W. Stone, Nicole Truman.

Pelham: Steven M. Booth, Christine M. Cortright, Keira P. Welikadage.

Plainfield: Cody T. Austin.

South Hadley: Joseph A. Huerta, Aaron D. Mackenzie, John A. Mielnikowski.

West Hatfield: Kimberly A. Bowler, Eric J. Keenan-Gray.

Westhampton: Rita J. Tauscher.

Whately: Hattie L. Archbald, Emily E. Eaton, Jill A. Eaton, Alexander J. Fullerton.

Williamsburg: Megan A. Burgielewicz, Stephanie A. Kellogg, Rebecca L. Kolosewicz, Douglass C. McGill, Jonathan D. Schwaiger, John Wickline.

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