Amy Marshall, Haylee Godfrin, Jake Roberts, Jaqueline Escobar-Rivera

Piedmont Tech Graduates Share Their Struggles and Triumphs

Piedmont Technical College (PTC) conducted two in-person fall commencement exercises on Thursday, December 16, 2021, at the James Medford Family Event Center in Greenwood. In all, approximately 152 students received degrees. 


Amy Marshall, a human services major, and Haylee Godfrin, a commercial arts advertising/photography major, were the student speakers for the afternoon ceremony. 


A devastating car accident in 2019 left Amy Marshall with disabling injuries that prevented her from continuing to work in the health care industry. Life became a blur of doctor appointments, physical therapy and bed rest. Marshall wondered what could possibly be next.


“God did not create me to sit at home,” Marshall said. After a vocational rehabilitation consultation cleared her to return to work in physically limited roles, she struggled to envision her future. “I am a people person, and I knew that sitting behind a desk having little interaction with people was not for me.”


A career assessment revealed Marshall had an aptitude for counseling. Lacking the necessary training for that profession, she enrolled in Piedmont Tech’s Human Services Program and excelled there, receiving the Distinguished Student Award, serving as a Presidential Ambassador, and serving as vice president and president of the college’s Human Service Club. She also was installed in the Human Services Honor Society and Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.


Marshall expressed that PTC offered not just a family environment but a family that offers opportunities. “The instructors and staff are like great parents who want you to succeed, and it shows in their teaching, encouragement, and guidance. I am forever grateful for my time at PTC.”


Two milestone events — one devastating and one joyful — put Haylee Godfrin on the path to her degree in general technology, advertising design, with a photography concentration. The sudden death of her father in 2016 and the birth of her daughter, Skylar, in 2018 gave Godfrin the desire to make her father proud as well as to serve as a positive role model for her young daughter. 


“Everyone said that going to college in the middle of a pandemic was awful, but it was a lifesaver for me,” Godfrin said. “I was able to take all of my classes online, work a full-time job, and have a family life. It helped me get back into the swing of things since I had been out of college for several years.”


Godfrin heaped praise on her instructors in the Commercial Arts Program for their strong encouragement and warm leadership. 


“All of my instructors have made my time at Piedmont Tech so wonderful. Not only did they teach me so much, but they also provided guidance, support, and an ear to listen when I needed it,” she said. “When I was finally asked to join Kappa Pi (a national collegiate art honor society), I cried happy tears because I never thought that I would have achieved something like that in college. I never thought that I would be good enough.”


Using her new degree, Godfrin already has secured a position she loves in the graphic design profession. “Piedmont Tech has impacted my life in the best way!” she said.


Jake Roberts, an associate degree nursing major, and Jaqueline Escobar-Rivera, a cardiovascular technology major, were the student speakers for the evening ceremony. 


Jake Roberts originally graduated from Winthrop University and worked as an analytical chemist in Rochester, New York, for years before a sense of something missing brought him back to the Lakelands. He had been successful as a chemist, but it was not rewarding or fulfilling to him. 


“I discovered what made me thrive and what living a fulfilling life meant. I found the pillars that supported the foundation of what I consider a happy and successful life:  family, community, leadership, and balance,” Roberts explained. “My mother has been a registered nurse for the entirety of my life. … If I could go back in time and speak to my younger self, I would have said: ‘Pay attention to how cool you think your mom is. It might save you eight years of learning what you want in life.”


Roberts began conversations with his family about entering the nursing profession and received overwhelming support. It was a life-changing decision returning to college after so many years and taking courses during a worldwide pandemic.


“Our professor, Mrs. Susan Skawski, brought an incredible amount of energy and depth of knowledge to each online lecture,” he said. “As a nursing student, it was tough to learn a very hands-on career in an online fashion. She made it work, and she made it work in style. She presented what I consider to be the best lectures I have ever been part of, and she did it from her attic bedroom!”


Before graduation, Roberts was offered a position at Self Regional Healthcare in the Intensive Care Unit. Both his job interviewer and lead nurse are alumni of PTC’s Nursing Program. “Piedmont Tech’s relationship with Self Regional and the other hospitals in the area has undoubtedly helped me to find ample opportunity for a career after today,” he said. “Connections make a huge difference.”


Jaqueline Escobar-Rivera knows she is not alone in battling self-doubt and struggling to believe in herself. Encouragement from her mother, her faith, and her experiences at PTC helped bring her out of the darkness and into healing and light.


“You are perfect because God created you,” she told her fellow graduates. “Stop hating your body. Stop hating your personality. Stop wishing you looked like someone else. Stop denying your beliefs to please others. Face your fears, reset your focus, and when someone says ‘you can’t,’ have the courage and bravery to prove to yourself that you can.”


Escobar-Rivera plans to begin studies this spring at the University of South Carolina toward a bachelor’s degree in cardiovascular technology as the first PTC student to participate in a new CVT bridge program. 


“Be extraordinary. Be compassionate. Love yourself. And trust God, because He has a plan for each of us and a purpose even when we don’t believe it,” she said. “We can all say that we’ve earned this accomplishment, and that is the best feeling ever!”


PTC President Dr. Hope E. Rivers applauded the graduates for their accomplishment. 


“No matter how you got here, no matter how confident or, perhaps, afraid you were when you first enrolled at PTC, it took courage — real courage to take the first step. Every one of us has felt a bit of trepidation, nervousness, and anxiety during the first few weeks of college, especially those who are the first-generation college students,” she said. “Courage is not simply the absence of fear. It is moving forward in spite of fear, in spite of doubt. … I am so proud of each one of you for hanging in there, doing the hard work, and keeping your eyes on the prize. You did it! Enjoy and revel in this achievement.”

To view images from the 3 p.m. graduation, click HERE.

To view images from the 7 p.m. graduation, click HERE.

To view a recording of the graduation ceremonies, click HERE


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PLEASE NOTE:  PIEDMONT TECHNICAL COLLEGE’S DECEMBER 2021 GRADUATES AND THEIR AREAS OF STUDY ARE LISTED BELOW.
Piedmont Tech shares in the well-deserved pride our graduates feel in their accomplishments. Due to semester and course delivery changes during the fall 2021 semester, some courses and grades are still being finalized. For that reason, names of students who may not meet graduation requirements may be included. Conversely, names of students who will later meet those requirements after publication may be omitted. We regret any embarrassment or inconvenience these ongoing course completions may cause. An official list of all fall 2021 graduates will be maintained by the Student Records Office once all courses and grading have been completed. 


ABBEVILLE COUNTY


ABBEVILLE – Amanda M. Belisle, associate in applied science, major in nursing; Shanquilla C. Bowie, associate in applied science, major in cardiovascular technology, invasive concentration; Karina J. Catalan, associate in applied science, major in human services; *Jacob Dale Gilmer, diploma in applied science, major in welding; Noah M. Guire, associate in applied science, major in nursing; Magen Hall, associate in applied science, major in nursing; *Nichole Renea Hansen, certificate in paramedic; Krystenia Beatrice Chaparro Harris, associate in applied science, major in business administration; Hannah Elizabeth Henderson, associate in applied science, major in administrative office technology, accounting concentration; Anna Grace Lewis, associate in arts; Erin Brooke Manning, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing; Lashy Shante Rowell, associate in applied science, major in nursing; *Arthur Calvin Wideman Jr., certificate in advanced welding; and Kyndra D. Zoesch, associate in applied science, major in nursing. 

CALHOUN FALLS – *James Arthur Hembree Jr., associate in science; Keyattah Siakia Norman, associate in applied science, major in nursing; Ryan M. O’Shields, associate in applied science, major in business administration, accounting concentration; and Andrew Seegars, associate in arts.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

DONALDS – Madison Brianna Ashley, associate in applied science, major in general technology, concentration in advertising design with secondary specialty in photography; and **Bobby Killingsworth Jr., associate in applied science, major in automotive technology.

GREENWOOD – Meredith Price Denning, associate in applied science, major in business administration.

HODGES – *Robin Elizabeth Stoll, associate in applied science, major in general technology, paramedic concentration. 

HONEA PATH – Heather Lane Phillips, associate in applied science, major in nursing.


AIKEN COUNTY


NORTH AUGUSTA – Taylor Louise Clark, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing.

ANDERSON COUNTY


ANDERSON – Aaliyah Hawthorne, associate in applied science, major in criminal justice.

HONEA PATH – Katherine Erin Major, associate in applied science, major in nursing.

IVA – Brooklyn Eve Latham, associate in applied science, major in cardiovascular technology, invasive concentration.

STARR – Lynda Fulbright, certificate in paramedic.

CHESTER COUNTY


CHESTER – **Elizabeth D. Clark, associate in applied science, major in business administration, office management.

EDGEFIELD COUNTY


EDGEFIELD – *Aaliyah Tyjhana Bush, associate in applied science, major in general technology, surgical technology concentration.

FAIRFIELD COUNTY


WINNSBORO – Kayla Welch, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing.

FLORENCE COUNTY


FLORENCE – Essence Gene’ Jackson, associate in applied science, major in occupational therapy assistant.

LAKE CITY – Yvette Mcfadden, associate in applied science, major in funeral service.

GREENVILLE COUNTY


GREENVILLE – *Markia Natajare Ross, associate in applied science, major in cardiovascular technology, adult echocardiography concentration.

SIMPSONVILLE – Markisha Elmore, associate in applied science, major in cardiovascular technology, adult echocardiography concentration.

GREENWOOD COUNTY


GREENWOOD – Christopher Robert Archambault, associate in applied science, major in nursing; Evianna Marie Casado, associate in science; *Jacob Lee Childress, associate in applied science, major in cardiovascular technology, invasive concentration; *Ernestine Michelle Colson, associate in applied science, major in machine tool technology; Anya Zikeria Daniel, associate in applied science, major in nursing; Takeisha Reid Davis, associate in applied science, major in business administration, management concentration; *Mary Richardson Dodgen, associate in applied science, major in occupational therapy assistant; Jovan’Te A. Ewing, associate in applied science, major in business administration; Amanda Lynn Gambrell, associate in applied science, major in business administration, management concentration; *Haylee Deanna Godfrin, associate in applied science, major in general technology, concentration in advertising design with secondary special ty in photography; Michael Rhett Green, associate in arts; Kevin M. Gross, certificate in advanced welding; **Trey Hampton, certificate in paramedic; Angie C. Hollingsworth, associate in applied science, major in administrative office technology, medical concentration; Selena L. Jackson, associate in applied science, major in business administration, accounting concentration; **Tamara Shane Jones, associate in applied science, major in administrative office technology, medical concentration; Wandtez Tiesha King, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing; Carmen Marie Laughlin, associate in applied science, major in funeral service; Joshua W. Marshall, associate in applied science, major in business administration, management concentration; Belinda Faye Melson, associate in applied science, major in business administration; Kristina Seawright Mitchell, associate in applied science, major in business administration/associate in applied science, major in business administration, management concentration/associate in arts; Arkeem Jermal Moore, associate in applied science, major in computer technology, networking concentration; Jorica Partlow, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing; David Ryan Patterson, associate in applied science, major in nursing; Cadarria Quashalay Price, associate in applied science, major in business administration, management concentration; Wyneishia Chuntel Quarles, associate in applied science, major in business administration; Laloni Ashley Rita, associate in applied science, major in nursing; Haylie D. Ritter, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing; Christen Claire Roberts, associate in applied science, major in early care and education; Christina Rena Scott, associate in applied science, major in business administration; *Abigail Alice Shelley, associate in applied science, major in cardiovascular technology, adult echocardiography concentration; Taylor Lane Shipment, associate in arts/associate in science; Catherine J. Sligh, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing; Courtney Suzanne Smith, associate in applied science, major in occupational therapy assistant; Gracie Marie Smith, associate in applied science, major in business administration; Derek Colby Stennett, associate in applied science, major in nursing; Dorien Blake Thompkins, associate in applied science, major in computer technology, networking concentration; Paige Elizabeth Thornton, associate in applied science, major in nursing; Robert Lee Washington, associate in arts; Brandy R. White, associate in applied science, major in human services; Dillon James Whitehead, associate in applied science, major in machine tool technology; Keshundra K. Williams, associate in applied science, major in administrative office technology, medical concentration; Michael Winfrey, associate in applied science, major in administrative office technology, medical coding/billing concentration; and Shai’Keira J. Young, associate in applied science, major in general technology, concentration in digital rendering and gaming with secondary specialty in advertising design or photography.

HODGES – Clayton Robert King, associate in applied science, major in electronic engineering technology; Corley Brooks Lyle, associate in applied science, major in occupational therapy assistant; and Allie Watts, associate in applied science, major in nursing. 

NINETY SIX – Michael Elliot Able, associate in science; Jake Arthur Roberts, associate in applied science, major in nursing; and Jacob M. Rohlinger, certificate in automotive fundamentals.

TROY – Melissa B. Bartley, associate in applied science, major in business administration, management concentration.

WARE SHOALS – Alexiah Dwanae Agnew, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing; Chasity J. Cox, associate in applied science, major in occupational therapy assistant; Demisheia Meshayla Sayles, associate in applied science, major in human services; and Tikesha L. Whitfield, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing.

KERSHAW COUNTY


ELGIN – Otis Clark, associate in applied science, major in funeral service.

LANCASTER COUNTY


KERSHAW – Sara E. Spinks, associate in applied science, major in business administration, management concentration.

LAURENS COUNTY


CLINTON – Stephanie L. Anderson, associate in applied science, major in administrative office technology, medical coding/billing concentration; *Ashton Drake Cathey, associate in applied science, major in machine tool technology; Julio Carrion Flores Jr., associate in applied science, major in horticulture technology; Jennifer N. Hill, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing; Candice P. Lindsay, associate in applied science, major in business administration, management concentration; **Justin Alexander Moton, associate in applied science, major in business administration, management concentration; **Judith Holly Szymanski, associate in applied science, major in business administration, management concentration; and Whitni Shanique Watson, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing.

CROSS HILL – Jessica Dawn Davis, associate in arts.

GRAY COURT – Christin Malone Duberry, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing; Selena Martinez Gann, associate in applied science, major in human services; and Joy Mckenlee Morton, associate in applied science, major in administrative office technology, medical concentration.

LAURENS – Taylor Elaine Attridge, associate in applied science, major in business administration; ***Lawrence Kamehameha Bruns, associate in arts; James Cale Coats, certificate in advanced welding; Blair M. Griffin, associate in applied science, major in business administration, accounting concentration; Lucy Homes, associate in applied science, major in business administration, management concentration; Zoe May Lamberton, associate in arts; Jessica Brianna Plaia, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing; Mylaishia Chermya Reid, associate in applied science, major in business administration, management concentration; and Heather Danielle Wynn, associate in applied science, major in general technology, pharmacy technician concentration.

WARE SHOALS –***Alysa Leigh Blakley, associate in applied science, major in general technology, paramedic concentration; and *Dalton Haynes, associate in applied science, major in computer technology, networking concentration. 

WATERLOO – Liberty India Adams, associate in arts; Heather L. Case, associate in applied science, major in nursing; Austin Wayne Harvley, associate in applied science, major in business administration, management concentration; *Stacy B. Rice, associate in applied science, major in administrative office technology, medical concentration; Bridget Tyler Richitelli, certificate in paramedic.

LEE COUNTY


LYNCHBURG – **Maryon Kennedy, associate in applied science, major in funeral service.

LEXINGTON COUNTY


LEESVILLE – *Kristen Miller Derrick, associate in applied science, major in business administration; **Amy M. Marshall, associate in applied science, major in human services; Brooke Kaitlyn Rish, associate in arts.

SWANSEA – Sydney Robyn White, associate in science.

WEST COLUMBIA – *Kristen M. Childs, associate in applied science, major in administrative office technology, medical concentration. 

McCORMICK COUNTY


McCORMICK – Becca Lagroon, associate in applied science, major in business administration, accounting concentration.

PLUM BRANCH – Kaitlyn Elizabeth Fellows, associate in applied science, major in nursing; and Rosalyn Joyce Miller, associate in applied science, major in business administration, management concentration.

NEWBERRY COUNTY


LITTLE MOUNTAIN – Abigail Ashlyn Berry, associate in applied science, major in early care and education.

NEWBERRY – Jamie Laurie Adams, associate in applied science, major in nursing; Marilena Teresa Alvarado, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing; Maggie Grace Bowers, associate in applied science, major in cardiovascular technology, adult echocardiography concentration; Kendra Chaplin, associate in applied science, major in nursing; and Jaqueline Escobar Rivera, associate in applied science, major in cardiovascular technology, invasive concentration.

POMARIA – Ashari N. Bookman, associate in applied science, major in human services; Ebony Dominique Garmany, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing.

PROSPERITY – Takeyda D. Bates, associate in applied science, major in business administration, management concentration; Patricia V. Sharpe, associate in science; **Garett B. Shealy, certificate in advanced welding; Natalie L. Shealy, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing; and ***Tiffany M. Smith, associate in arts.

WHITMIRE – Bridgette Kaylene Morris, associate in applied science, major in general technology, medical assisting concentration.

PICKENS COUNTY


EASLEY – Jennifer Fontenot, associate in applied science, major in general technology, paramedic concentration.

RICHLAND COUNTY


BLYTHEWOOD – Pamela Belton, associate in applied science, major in nursing. 

COLUMBIA – Tkeilah Samantha Holmes, associate in applied science, major in criminal justice.

IRMO – Robert James Ormsby II, certificate in paramedic.

SALUDA COUNTY


BATESBURG – Erin McKenzie Rodgers, associate in science; **Rachel Shore, associate in arts; and *Zachary Wayne Thomas, associate in applied science, major in general technology, paramedic concentration.

JOHNSTON – Diavion Phillips, associate in applied science, major in human services.

LEESVILLE – Mary Alice Crouch, associate in applied science, major in criminal justice.

SALUDA – Sharlton E. Dorns, associate in science; Noah James Hallman, associate in applied science, major in diversified agriculture; Macy Alline Hatcher, associate in applied science, major in occupational therapy assistant; **Alexis Hernandez, associate in applied science, major in mechatronics technology; Rafael Leyva, associate in applied science, major in mechanical engineering technology; Charles Daniel Parker Jr., associate in science; and Melody Burton Williams, associate in applied science, major in nursing.

SPARTANBURG COUNTY


DUNCAN – *Julie Herzing, certificate in office technician; and Lori Danielle Posey, associate in applied science, major in funeral service.

ROEBUCK – Anna Smith, associate in applied science, major in administrative office technology, legal concentration.

SPARTANBURG – Cheleka Marchele Garrett, associate in applied science, major in funeral service; Brittany Lynn Unkle, associate in applied science, major in criminal justice; and Alisha Monique Williams-Harris, associate in applied science, major in nursing.

WOODRUFF – Leslie Ramirez, associate in applied science, major in nursing.

UNION COUNTY


JONESVILLE – Skylen Cheyenne Morris, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing.

WILLIAMSBURG COUNTY


NESMITH – Morgan Elizabeth Cooper Wright, associate in applied science, major in funeral service.

OUT OF STATE 


AUGUSTA, Ga. – Kenyata M. Baliem, associate in applied science, major in nursing.

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. – Terry L. Thomas, associate in arts.

GROVETOWN, Ga. – Shakisha D. Bailey, associate in applied science, major in funeral service.

HEPHZIBAH, Ga. – Laconya Milligan Owens, associate in applied science, major in nursing.

WASHINGTON, Ga. – Caylor C. Chafin, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing.