Smiles, cheers, flowers and dreams come true – Northern Commencement in a nutshell
The sound of reverberating applause, cheers and even screams from family and friends filled the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium during the June 3 Northern Commencement. Graduates from Brandman’s Fairfield, Modesto, Monterey, Roseville, Travis Air Force Base, Walnut Creek, Yuba City and Online campuses participated.
Nadia Faizi, one of the earliest arrivals on graduation day, posed for a picture for family members Baz Faizi and Wali Jabarkhel. Her three-hour trek from Monterey – she teaches at Defense Language Institute – and the work she put in to complete an M.A. in Organizational Leadership (M.A.O.L.) was worth the journey, she said. “To have a master’s degree from a U.S. university was my dream and it comes true today.”
Gilbert Luna, another early arrival with his wife Deanna and daughter Bella, shared that dream, earning a bachelor’s in organizational leadership from the Walnut Creek campus. “It was a lot of hard work and a lot of sacrifices on their part,” he said, with a nod to his wife and daughter. “It’s worth it in the long run because I’ll be better able to take care of my family.”
Earning a degree was a long journey for Lindsey Morrell. He took his first class in 1980 when the university was still Chapman University College and he was serving at sea in the Navy. After 26 years of active duty, he decided it was time to finish his degree and tried several times beginning in 2004. It wasn’t until he returned to Brandman that he was able to close the last loop and earn a Bachelor of Arts in Applied Studies. This summer he and his wife Artheria head for Haiti on a mission for Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Vallejo, where he’ll put some of the leadership and computer skills he learned at Brandman to work.
“This degree makes me more well-rounded,” he said.
Up in the upper deck of the gold-pillared auditorium, Jordan Coate was busily checking the program for fiancée Fallon Stephen’s name. He had plenty of company, including Fallon’s 9-year-old son Rody and grandmother Jean and her future brother-in-law Ben Coate. They’re all hoping a B.A. in Early Childhood Education will lead to a full-time teaching position in Yuba City.
Karina Rios also had a cheering section. Her sons Conner, 7, and Logan, 8, couldn’t exactly find the words to describe how proud they were of their mother but their smiles and flashy signs said it for them. The Yuba City resident completed an M.A. in Psychology and just received an offer to begin working with a private practice. “I’m hoping to go for a doctorate,” she said.
It’s a wonder Jasmine Yanez could walk with all the leis being strung around her neck by her very proud grandmother Jamie Hernandez and aunt Tami Kiger while her stepfather recorded it all on his camera. “We’re just so proud of her,” said Hernandez, adding that Yanez is the first grandchild to earn a college degree. She earned her B.A. in Social Science.
While others were running to movie theaters this weekend to watch “Wonder Woman” on the big screen, Kelly Horn was wearing the Wonder Woman logo on her mortarboard. And why not, as the single parent of five children who works in administration for a Bay Area Head Start program, Horn completed her B.A. in Early Childhood Education two years ago and just kept going. On Saturday, she celebrated completing her M.A. in Education, taking all her classes online. “I thought if I stopped (after the B.A.), I wouldn’t come back.”
Brandman grads who want to celebrate their accomplishments on social media can add a Twibbon frame and the hashtag #BrandmanGrad2017.
Related story: ‘In my wildest dreams, I never imaged graduating’ – Kimberly Ewing
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