Joan Pittman

Graduates Share Messages of Gratitude and Faith

August 28, 2018

They came from diverse origins in geography, age, race and gender. Yet all four commencement speakers at the Piedmont Technical College (PTC) summer graduation ceremonies on August 2 in Greenwood shared common, overarching messages of gratitude and faith.

“I didn’t come from a family with a lot of money or education, so I have been working since I was 15 years old,” said graduation speaker Joan Pittman, who earned an associate degree in administrative office technology. At age 60.

The Union native once believed she would work for one company her entire life. My how times have changed. “You could’ve been at a job for a long time, been the best at what you do, but because you didn’t have a diploma or degree, you couldn’t get a higher position. They would hire someone else that you might have to train to do the job,” Pittman said, “but you just couldn’t have the position because you didn’t have the degree. That’s when I realized that a degree was so important.”

Pittman noted that the changes she witnessed over the decades have included downsizing, outsourcing, relocations, mergers and closings. “The only thing you can be sure of is change, and you have to be flexible and prepare yourself for the changes,” Pittman said, adding that she is exceedingly grateful to her family, instructors and classmates for their enduring support and encouragement.

PTC President Dr. Ray Brooks opened both commencements (afternoon and evening) with warm sentiments of admiration.

“This group has been working hard over the last several years and are ready for a break. Some of you are already in the workforce. Some of you are entering the workforce. Some of you are taking licensure exams, so there is lots of studying left to be done,” Brooks said. “I wish you all the best and Godspeed. I congratulate you for getting to where you are today.”

Pittman was joined by Heaven Lee in delivering commencement address at the afternoon graduation. Lee, who grew up in New Jersey, had a rough start and did not sugarcoat any of it.

“I was born into this world not breathing and with cocaine in my system. My biological parents were addicts,” Lee told her fellow graduates. “I was adopted into a family where I dealt with emotional and verbal abuse. I was told I was stupid, worthless and that I would never amount to anything.”

After high school and upon moving to South Carolina, Lee hit bottom. “I lost almost all of my hope,” she said. “Worst of all, I was seven months pregnant on the verge of being homeless.”

That’s when A Place for Us (APFU) Ministries entered her life, providing safe haven, love ― and hope. She had her son, Nikolai, and realized she needed to be her best self for him. “Thank you to Mama Kay and Papa Sam (of APFU),” she said. “You have had the biggest impact in my life.”

Taking on a double major of mechanical engineering and engineering design, Lee earned her degrees in two years. “I never thought I would do anything like this! This stuff is NOT easy, but I enjoyed the challenge,” Lee said. “Growing up, I never would have seen myself where I am today.”

Wade Timmerman and Heather Benshoof delivered speeches for the evening program.

Timmerman, graduating with an associate in cardiovascular technology, returned to school at PTC after earning a bachelor’s in exercise science from Lander University. He wanted to grow his knowledge about the heart and the brain.

“Through the cardiovascular technology program at PTC, I have honestly learned what it takes to fully care for an individual in need,” he said. “The ability this institution has to connect its students with the community and surrounding counties is amazing.”

In January of this year, Bon Secours St. Francis Health System hired Timmerman as a part-time cardiac cath lab assistant. Upon graduation, he had a full-time position waiting for him in the same cath lab. He expressed thankfulness for the quality of his PTC education and wants to pay it forward by setting an example that can inspire those coming behind him.

“Graduates, we need to acknowledge that we have had the very best resources in our time here at PTC,” Timmerman said. “We are now challenged to become important resources for others.”

Like Lee, Heather Benshoof considers APFU ministries a godsend that came at a time of crisis in her life.

“I was never a fan of school. I cheated my way through high school, and I even dropped out before officially graduating,” she said. About a year later, “I began making some not-so-wise decisions.”

By 2014, those choices landed Benshoof pregnant and in jail on drug charges. “I was still listening to the lies I had told myself for so long: ‘You don’t deserve better.’ ‘You aren’t smart enough.’ ‘You are a failure.’” After her release, she came to APFU. “Eventually, with a lot of encouragement and guidance from the women at APFU, I agreed to take the next step.”

Benshoof began at PTC in the fall of 2015.

“To be honest, I was still not thrilled by the idea of going back to school, but as I began coming to classes and interacting with students, I realized I was not alone,” she said.

In August, Benshoof graduated with an associate in human services. She looks forward to devoting her career to helping others recovering from adversity, including abuse or neglect.

 

 

PLEASE NOTE:  PIEDMONT TECHNICAL COLLEGE’S AUGUST 2018 GRADUATES AND THEIR AREAS OF STUDY ARE LISTED BELOW.

Piedmont Tech shares in the well-deserved pride our graduates feel in their accomplishments.  To meet the printing deadlines required for production of the program and to maximize use of graduates’ names in area media, information is compiled a minimum of two weeks in advance of commencement exercises.  For that reason, names of students who fail to meet graduation requirements may be included.  Conversely, names of students who met those requirements after the print deadline may be omitted.  We regret any embarrassment or inconvenience these schedules may cause.

 

ABBEVILLE COUNTY

ABBEVILLE – ***Jessica Lee Bowie, associate in applied science, major in general technology, advertising design with photography concentration; Blair Elizabeth Boyd, diploma in applied science, major in medical assisting; *Briana Lea Coates, associate in applied science, major in nursing; Aliyah S. Enwright, associate in applied science, major in human services; Kaitlin Brianna Greeson, diploma in applied science, major in surgical technology; Sarah E. Henderson, associate in applied science, major in computer technology, network concentration; Megan Leigh Hill, diploma in applied science, major in medical assisting; Marquice T. Johnson, associate in applied science, major in computer technology, network concentration; *Shantice Auriel Johnson, associate in applied science, major in business administration, accounting concentration; Khadijah Brainshay Mattison, associate in applied science, major in nursing; **Amanda Horne Nickles, associate in applied science, major in general technology, surgical technology concentration; Jean Wilson Overholt, associate in applied science, major in cardiovascular technology, non-invasive concentration; Nienna H. Placke, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing; and Elizabeth A. Thackson, associate in applied science, major in general technology, pharmacy technology concentration.

 

CALHOUN FALLS – *Sonya Lynn Hicks, associate in applied science, major in human services.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

 

DUE WEST – Bridgette Sanders, diploma in applied science, major in surgical technology.

 

HODGES – Harleigh Cowart, associate in applied science, major in general technology, pharmacy technology concentration; and Patricia Angelique Parsells, diploma in applied science, major in surgical technology.

 

HONEA PATH – Nichole Fayth Abrams, diploma in applied science, major in medical assisting; Amy Michelle Bohler, associate in applied science, major in early care and education; and Marcy Kaye Pitts, associate in applied science, major in radiologic technology.

 

WARE SHOALS – Caroline Elysia Blackwell, associate in applied science, major in cardiovascular technology, invasive concentration.

 

AIKEN COUNTY

AIKEN – Kesha Canionero, diploma in applied science, major in surgical technology; Rishawn Obryan Dunbar, associate in applied science, major in funeral service; and Joshua Paul Young, associate in applied science, major in nursing.

 

BEECH ISLAND – Jessica F. Bright, associate in applied science, major in respiratory care.

 

TRENTON – Marquita M. Mathis, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing; and Brandy Marie Walker, associate in applied science, major in funeral service.

 

WARRENVILLE – Katrice Demerieus Gist, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing.

 

ANDERSON COUNTY

ANDERSON – Jason Scott Mcclain, associate in applied science, major in funeral service; and Lyndsie Parker, associate in applied science, major in funeral service.

 

HONEA PATH – **Ciara Cooley Buege, associate in applied science, major in radiologic technology; Marjorie Danielle Rye, associate in applied science, major in human services; and Tikesha L. Whitfield, diploma in applied science, major in medical assisting.

 

PENDLETON – Shakilia Watt, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing. 

 

BARNWELL COUNTY

BLACKVILLE – Deborah Nickens, associate in applied science, major in nursing.

 

EDGEFIELD COUNTY

EDGEFIELD – Sandricka Synclaire Rolland, associate in applied science, major in administrative office technology, medical coding/billing concentration; and **Rachael Anne Young, associate in applied science, major in horticulture.

 

GREENVILLE COUNTY

GREENVILLE – Alexandria Taylor Craig, associate in applied science, major in funeral service; and Jessica Lauren Meeks, associate in applied science, major in radiologic technology.

 

GREER – Adriane Danielle Roseboro, associate in applied science, major in funeral service.

 

HONEA PATH – Elizabeth Brianne Woodruff, associate in applied science, major in respiratory care.

 

GREENWOOD COUNTY

BRADLEY – Arieal S. Bowie, associate in applied science, major in general technology, medical assisting concentration; Kenya D. Perrin, certificate in massage therapy; and *Wendi M. Young, certificate in massage therapy.

 

DONALDS – *Linda Kathleen Magaha, associate in applied science, major in radiologic technology.

 

GREENWOOD – Willette Letitia Alston-Williams, certificate in funeral service; **Heather Morain Benshoof, associate in applied science, major in human services; Dedra E. Bland, associate in applied science, major in administrative office technology, medical coding/billing concentration; Jodie Bonds, associate in applied science, major in nursing; Lina C. Broadway, associate in applied science, major in automotive technology; Tammy L. Brownlee, associate in applied science, major in criminal justice; Hunter Ashleigh Busbee, associate in applied science, major in general technology, surgical technology concentration; Kelly J. Campbell, associate in applied science, major in administrative office technology, medical concentration; Kristen Leigh Carroll, associate in applied science, major in radiologic technology; ***Evianna Marie Casado, diploma in applied science, major in pharmacy technology; Crystal Neeshay Coats, associate in applied science, major in general technology, medical assisting concentration; *Kayla Marie Cordero, associate in arts; Ontario Devontae Curry, associate in applied science, major in mechatronics technology; Lyea Marie Davis, associate in applied science, major in cardiovascular technology, non-invasive concentration; Samuel J. Deery V, associate in applied science, major in automotive technology; Thomas William Dixon, associate in applied science, major in automotive technology; Breanna Jordan Driggers, associate in applied science, major in radiologic technology; *Amanda J. Duff, associate in applied science, major in administrative office technology, medical concentration; *Cassandra Dawn Fouse, associate in applied science, major in computer technology, programming concentration; Taylor Marie Gingerich, associate in applied science, major in nursing; Austin Hank Gorman, associate in applied science, major in electronic engineering technology; Stephanie E. Graupman, associate in applied science, major in business administration, management concentration; Marquita Lougenia Hamilton, associate in applied science, major in respiratory care; Kim D. Harris, associate in applied science, major in human services; Nateria Alexandria Harris, associate in applied science, major in nursing; Richard Eugene Harrison III, associate in applied science, major in business administration; ***Emily Hawthorne, associate in arts; Melissa Leigh Higginbotham, certificate in early childhood development; Shantel N. Hill, associate in applied science, major in general technology, medical assisting concentration; Brittany L. Holcombe, diploma in applied science, major in medical assisting; Marquitta L. Holloway, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing; Kayla Shae Hughes, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing; *Thomas Darren Jones, associate in applied science, major in mechatronics technology; *Sarah Brittany Kirby, associate in arts; Heaven Arneisha Lee, associate in applied science, major in engineering design technology/associate in applied science, major in mechanical engineering technology; Lacianna Marie Little, associate in applied science, major in business administration, accounting concentration; Delvonna Sirenna McCowan, diploma in applied science, major in medical assisting; Kiara Nicole Minyard, associate in applied science, major in early care and education; Makayla Mitchum, diploma in applied science, major in pharmacy technology.

 

Also, Nathan Bryan Nickles, associate in applied science, major in business administration, management concentration; **Kimbela Renee Norman, associate in arts; Hailey Owens, associate in applied science, major in radiologic technology; **Kristen Lee Parker, associate in applied science, major in general technology, pharmacy technology concentration; Kayla Leigh Plyler, diploma in applied science, major in medical assisting; Toni Marie Quarles, diploma in applied science major in practical nursing; **Salcha Rambo, associate in applied science, major in human services; Antwan Marquis Rayford, associate in applied science, major in heating, ventilation and air conditioning technology; *George Jacob Recktenwald, associate in applied science, major in general technology, massage therapy concentration; *Jaquisha Keshonia Reed, certificate in office technician; Khadijah Antoinette Ryans, associate in applied science, major in business administration; Charles Alderson Scheirer, associate in applied science, major in engineering design technology; Jeremey W. Schumpert, associate in applied science, major in industrial electronics technology; Aleggria Simpkins, associate in applied science, major in human services; Anthony Speaks, certificate in refrigeration applications; Halie Bobbie Michelle Steele, diploma in applied science, major in medical assisting; **Melissa C. Stephens, associate in applied science, major in general technology, pharmacy technology concentration; Tajdric-Edward Watson Stevens, associate in arts; *Jessica L. Strutko, associate in science; **Samuel Wallace Sutton Jr., associate in applied science, major in mechatronics technology; Mallory Ellis Taylor, associate in applied science, major in general technology, surgical technology concentration; Shameika Lashay Terry, associate in applied science, major in nursing; Tongela Danielle Turner, associate in applied science, major in respiratory care; Morgan Elizabeth Vangieson, associate in applied science, major in nursing; Christie Leigh Weeks, diploma in applied science, major in medical assisting; ***Haylee Weeks, diploma in applied science, major in medical assisting; Caitlin Mae Wood, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing; Jennica Wood, associate in applied science, major in early care and education; and Jolee Brett Young, associate in applied science, major in nursing; .

 

HODGES – Shelby K. Scott, diploma in applied science, major in medical assisting; and Kianna Williams, associate in arts.

 

NINETY SIX – Rhonda Renee Belk, associate in applied science, major in nursing; Britney Buchanan Blair, associate in applied science, major in funeral service; Josie Katelyn Day, diploma in applied science, major in pharmacy technology; Lauren Nicole Hutchins, associate in applied science, major in criminal justice; Kristie Lynn Threlkeld, associate in applied science, major in nursing; **Bethany S. Whaley, certificate in massage therapy; and *John Tyler Webb, associate in applied science major in mechatronics technology.

 

TROY – Erin Nicole Nicholson, associate in arts.

 

WARE SHOALS – Savannah Odermatt, associate in applied science, major in radiologic technology; and Kristi M. Scott, associate in applied science, major in nursing.

 

HORRY COUNTY

LORIS – Alexis Ann Boggs, associate in applied science, major in respiratory care.

 

JASPER COUNTY

RIDGELAND – *Hannah Cheri O’Quinn, associate in applied science, major in funeral service.

 

LAURENS COUNTY

CLINTON – Rebecca Cogsdill, diploma in applied science, major in surgical technology; *Anthony Ridge Crawford, diploma in applied science, major in pharmacy technology; Morgan L. Gibbs, diploma in applied science, major in medical assisting; Amber Leann Medlin, associate in applied science, major in nursing; ***Joan J. Pittman, associate in applied science, major in administrative office technology, medical coding/billing concentration; Jared Glendon Price, associate in applied science, major in industrial electronics technology; Erin Louise Weeks, associate in applied science, major in nursing; and Katelyn Marie Wicker, associate in arts.

 

CROSS HILL – Biaget Faliasha Brewster-Young, associate in applied science, major in administrative office technology, accounting concentration; Justin Kiriakis McGee, certificate in funeral service; ***Anayeli Juan Santiago, associate in applied science, major in business administration, management concentration; and Rosemary Wagler, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing.

 

FOUNTAIN INN – Jasmine R. Aguilera, diploma in applied science, major in surgical technology; Lana Dale Burnett, associate in applied science, major in administrative office technology, medical coding/billing concentration; Jeanna Maloy Garner, associate in applied science, major in nursing; and Phaedrea D. Hart, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing.

 

GRAY COURT – Nathan Aaron Godfrey, associate in applied science, major in computer technology, network concentration; Kimberly Rochelle Neely, associate in applied science, major in general technology, medical assisting technology; and Luke S. Rankin, associate in applied science, major in business administration, office management concentration.

 

JOANNA – Elizabeth W. Keaton, diploma in applied science, major in surgical technology; and Paige Leanne South, associate in applied science, major in early care and education.

 

LAURENS – Krista J. Anderson, diploma in applied science, major in medical assisting; **Tiffany Marie Bercume, associate in applied science, major in general technology, advertising design with photography concentration/associate in applied science, major in general technology, photography with advertising design concentration; Jessica Damese Brown, associate in applied science, major in business administration; Cynthia Renee Cannon, diploma in applied science, major in medical assisting; Olga Vianney Hernandez Azuara, associate in applied science, major in radiologic technology; Kayla Harris King, associate in applied science, major in administrative office technology, accounting concentration; ***Daniel Hang Ngov, associate in science; Rajatkumar Patel, diploma in applied science, major in pharmacy technology; Anna Duckworth Phillips, associate in applied science, major in nursing; *Marquise Devon Speaks, associate in arts; Heather M. Wesson, associate in applied science, major in nursing; Letitia Wells White, diploma in applied science, major in pharmacy technology; Harley Chyanne Hope Wyatt, diploma in applied science, major in pharmacy technology; and **Amy Michelle-Milam Wynn, certificate in massage therapy.

 

MOUNTVILLE – Laquisha Antanetta Sanders, associate in applied science, major in general technology, massage therapy concentration; and Shelly Nicole Snow, associate in applied science, major in nursing.

 

WARE SHOALS – Kristen Taylor Smith, associate in applied science, major in human services.

 

WATERLOO – Margaret Ann Maggard, associate in arts/associate in science; ***Lucky Joe Maroney, associate in applied science, major in electronic engineering technology; and Katelyn Lacey Trail, associate in applied science, major in radiologic technology

 

LEXINGTON COUNTY

CHAPIN – Rachel Stephanie Gruber, associate in applied science, major in nursing.

 

LEESVILLE – **Robert Garett Shealy, associate in applied science, major in mechatronics technology; and Ashley M. Sturkie, associate in applied science, major in administrative office technology, legal concentration.

 

LEXINGTON – **Leanne Michelle Kyzer, diploma in applied science, major in welding.

 

WEST COLUMBIA – Hayley Gunter Rogers, diploma in applied science, major in surgical technology.

 

McCORMICK COUNTY

 

ABBEVILLE – Ashleah H. Willoughby, diploma in applied science, major in pharmacy technology.

 

McCORMICK – Tabitha Hilton Bentley, associate in applied science, major in criminal justice; *Landarius S. Houston, associate in applied science, major in computer technology, cybersecurity concentration; *Steven Mark Parsons, associate in applied science, major in general technology, welding concentration; and Morgan Elaina Waldrop, associate in applied science, major in funeral service.

                                                                     

NEWBERRY COUNTY

 

CHAPPELLS – Quateria Santoria Wadsworth, associate in applied science, major in human services.

 

NEWBERRY – *Johnathan L. Aull, associate in applied science, major in mechatronics technology; **Leslie Lacons Andrews, associate in arts; *Joanna Grace Bedenbaugh, associate in applied science, major in general technology, photography with advertising design concentration; *Jami Leigh Nicole Berry, diploma in applied science, major in surgical technology; Adrianna Bowers, associate in science; Larissa Anise Cannon, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing; Kemesha Vonta Counts, diploma in applied science, major in surgical technology; Elysia C. Edwards, associate in applied science, major in radiologic technology; Shawana Nakeya Gallman, diploma in applied science, major in pharmacy technology; Adrienne L. Gladney, diploma in applied science, major in surgical technology; Denisse Lopez Altamirano, associate in arts; *Darli Rodriguez, associate in applied science, major in general technology, welding concentration; and Maria G. Vega, associate in applied science, major in human services. 

 

POMARIA – ***Benjamin L. Nichols, associate in applied science, major in business administration, office management concentration.

 

PROSPERITY – Taiyah Bookman, associate in applied science, major in nursing; April R. Cumalander, certificate in massage therapy; Savannah Cheyenne Parnell, associate in applied science, major in radiologic technology; Amber Nicole Walker, associate in applied science, major in diversified agriculture; and *Robert Glenn Whiting, associate in applied science, major in criminal justice.

 

WHITMIRE – Caroline Nicole McMurray, associate in applied science, major in respiratory care.

 

OCONEE COUNTY

WALHALLA – **Rachel LeeAnn Hendrix, associate in applied science, major in funeral service.

 

WESTMINSTER – Dorothy Mae Campbell, associate in applied science, major in business administration, management concentration.

 

RICHLAND COUNTY

HOPKINS – **Jason Scott Gibson, associate in applied science, major in general technology, gunsmithing concentration.

 

SALUDA COUNTY

 

BATESBURG – *Brianna Erron Moorer, associate in applied science major in radiologic technology.

 

NINETY SIX – Brittany Nicole Leopard, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing.

 

RIDGE SPRING – **Jennifer Lynn Bird, diploma in applied science, major in surgical technology; and **Willette Wright, associate in applied science, major in administrative office technology, legal concentration.

 

SALUDA – Shanice L. Coates, associate in applied science, major in criminal justice; Robert Lee Coleman Jr., associate in applied science, major in automotive technology; Sharlton E. Dorns, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing; Nyshena Nicole Hickson, associate in applied science, major in respiratory care; Allison Michelle Lake, associate in applied science, major in radiologic technology; Kyle A. McCormick, certificate in automotive fundamentals; Clint A. McCoy, associate in arts; and *Ashley Dawn Proctor, associate in applied science, major in general technology, surgical technology concentration.

 

SUMTER COUNTY

SUMTER – Christopher Joseph Beaudet, associate in applied science, major in business administration, accounting concentration.

 

OUT OF STATE

HARTWELL, Ga. – Royney Hazzard, associate in applied science, major in funeral service.

 

HEPHZIBAH, Ga. – Brittney Nicole Wynder, associate in applied science, major in nursing.

 

LINCOLNTON, Ga. – Tamara Denise Tate, associate in applied science, major in respiratory care.

 

WASHINGTON, Ga. – Jada Mercier, associate in applied science, major in radiologic technology.

 

WINDSOR, Conn. – Jessica Cardona, associate in applied science, major in funeral service.

 

 

 

***Summa Cum Laude-4.0       **Magna Cum Laude-3.75-3.99         *Cum Laude-3.5-3.74