Noel Johnson graduation speaker

She Said Yes - And Other Recent Graduation Stories

January 23, 2020

As she walked off campus way back on her first day of classes at Piedmont Technical College, graduation speaker Noel Johnson of Greenwood, pondered this question: “What could I accomplish if I took every opportunity I was given ― even if I failed?” she said. “That’s when I decided I wanted to be the best student I could be.”

Ordinarily a quiet, reserved young woman, Johnson decided that, even if it was uncomfortable or unfamiliar, she indeed would “say yes” to opportunities that came her way. First she said yes and applied for scholarships to reduce her tuition costs. Subsequently, she was awarded the Strom Thurmond Endowed Scholarship as well as support from the Greenwood Promise. When invited to become a PTC Presidential Ambassador ― a student who represents the college at public events ― she again said yes. Johnson said yes to a long-term work study assignment in the college’s marketing and public relations office, all while holding down two jobs outside of school for much of her time at PTC. Notably, she said yes to an internship in human resources at WCTEL in Abbeville. Through that experience, she found her true calling. While earning an associate degree in business administration/accounting, she decided that human resources was the area she wanted to pursue as a career.

“I realized that I wanted to help people feel safe and be a helping hand,” she told her fellow graduates. “I am excited to continue on to work part time with WCTEL. … During that time, I will be returning to Piedmont Tech in the spring to complete my Human Resources Certificate. I also plan to get higher certifications in Human Resources.”

Johnson also said yes to an invitation to speak at the college’s fall 2019 commencement, a prospect that probably terrified her most of all. Ultimately, she says it was the tremendous support from her family, God, PTC professors and friends that kept her brave, allowing her to stay on course and keep growing.

More than 150 graduates turned their tassels during the college’s fall graduation last month.

The day’s other commencement speakers were Jade Freeman, who received an associate degree in human services, and Jade Smith, who received her associate degree in nursing.

The first in her family to graduate from college, Freeman of Clarks Hill said she is grateful to graduate with very little debt, thanks to the multiple scholarships she received. She was very close to her grandmother, who passed away in spring 2019.

“My educational journey is not over. I plan to obtain my bachelor’s degree in Sociology at USC Aiken,” Freeman said. “My goal is to secure a position at the Department of Social Services in Adult Protective Services. I truly enjoyed my internship there this past summer. … I learned that I have chosen the right path for me so that I can help others.”

Smith, who is originally from Asheville, NC, was met with thundering applause from her classmates. “As many of you know, nursing school is far from easy,” she said, “but we made it!”

The gregarious speaker, who has accepted a nursing position in the trauma unit at Spartanburg Regional Medical Center, gave a touching address laden with emotion and humor.

“Since the first week of classes, some of us connected with others and began to form bonds that would help us get through nursing school. We taught each other, laughed together, cried together, and most importantly, studied together,” Smith told her fellow graduates. “… While our work is not done (since we must still pass the NCLEX), we can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that the hard part is done. So, hug your loved ones extra tight tonight and be sure to thank them for hanging in there with you.”

 

 

 

 

 

List of Graduates by County

 

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 –*Brittany Nicole Able, associate in applied science, major in human services; Daisy Aviles, diploma in applied science, major in pharmacy technology; Tiffani Michelle Beasley, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing; Noah Lee Cann, associate in applied science, major in business administration, accounting concentration; Arthur K. Coleman, associate in applied science, major in business administration; Kayla Japaris Crawford, associate in arts; Jonathan James Dawkins, associate in applied science, major in general technology, pharmacy technology concentration; Megan Leigh Hill, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing; Lavonda V. Jeffery, associate in applied science, major in criminal justice; Reola Shade’ Moore, associate in applied science, administrative office technology, medical coding/billing concentration; Kaleigh Price, associate in applied science, major in engineering design technology; Kirsten Rose Scott, associate in applied science, major in nursing; Traejon Thomas, associate in applied science, major in mechatronics technology; *Sandra D. Williams-Allen, associate in applied science, major in criminal justice; and Lacey Lewis Yates, associate in applied science, major in business administration.

 

DONALDS – Garrett Lane McClain, associate in applied science, major in mechatronics technology; and Daniel Davis Wiles, certificate in automotive fundamentals.

 

DUE WEST – Angelica S. Myshkovskiy, associate in applied science, major in nursing.

 

IVA – Brittany Burgess, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing.

 

AIKEN COUNTY

AIKEN – Kenna Leann Hale, associate in applied science, major in funeral service.

 

NORTH AUGUSTA – Hannah Alyss Noe, associate in applied science, major in funeral service.

 

SALLEY – Nyjee Hart, associate in applied science, major in funeral service; and *Savannah Rose Poole, associate in applied science, major in diversified agriculture.

 

ALLENDALE COUNTY

ALLENDALE – Shatiqua Alexis Moore, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing.

 

ANDERSON COUNTY

ANDERSON – Aaliyah Hawthorne, associate in applied science, major in administrative office technology, legal concentration; and Taylor David Smith, associate in applied science, major in horticulture.

BELTON – Brooklyn Nykole Smith, associate in applied science, major in nursing.

 

HONEA PATH – Alea Sommai Lyles, associate in arts; and Peyton E. McMillan, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing.

 

BEAUFORT COUNTY

BEAUFORT – Jarod Keion Myers, associate in applied science, major in funeral service.

 

CHARLESTON COUNTY

CHARLESTON - **Zoe Blair James, associate in applied science, major in funeral service.

 

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY

CHESTERFIELD – William Keith, associate in applied science, major in funeral service.

 

JEFFERSON - *Erin Mckenzie Jenkins, associate in applied science, major in funeral service.

 

DILLON COUNTY

DILLON – Bertha Ann McCrimmon-Murphy, associate in applied science, major in funeral service.

 

EDGEFIELD COUNTY

EDGEFIELD – **Aaliyah Tyjhana Bush, diploma in applied science, major in pharmacy technology; Lakendria Curry, associate in arts; Astra S. Lee, associate in applied science, major in human services; and Kallie Layne Reeves, associate in applied science, major in general technology, surgical technology concentration.

 

JOHNSTON – *Linda Sue Butler, associate in applied science, major in business administration; Kenya Niesha Jones, associate in applied science, major in general technology, surgical technology concentration; and *Tyler Lance Thompson, associate in applied science, major in diversified agriculture.

 

TRENTON – Lilly Esmeralda Torres, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing.

 

GREENVILLE COUNTY

FOUNTAIN INN – Brandi Kiana Grady, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing; and Joseph Howard III, associate in applied science, major in funeral service.

 

GREENVILLE – Jasmine Davina Baddy, associate in applied science, major in nursing; and *Morgan Graham, associate in applied science, major in funeral service.

 

PIEDMONT – Kimberly A. Mulvihill, associate in applied science, major in funeral service; and Chaquanna Smith, associate in applied science, major in business administration, management concentration.

 

SIMPSONVILLE – Kadeem Devario Simpkins, associate in applied science, major in business administration, management concentration.

 

 

 

GREENWOOD COUNTY

BRADLEY – Demica Lashorn Lewis-Bowman, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing; and *Nolan Todd McCutcheon, associate in applied science, major in general technology, welding concentration.

DONALDS – ***Corey Mackenzie Boyter, associate in applied science, major in mechatronics technology.

GREENWOOD – Jessica S. Anderson, certificate in office technician; Phoebe Marie Ashley, associate in applied science, major in early care and education; Arvell Derell Bagley Jr., associate in science; Melissa Danielle Baxter, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing; *Vincent Slater Bell, associate in arts; Ramon Durrell Bishop, associate in applied science, major in automotive technology; **Edward Whitfield Brooks, associate in arts; Frederick Dylan Campbell, associate in applied science, major in criminal justice; ***Jamison E. Cox, certificate in pc technician; Kalani Cheyenne Crawford, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing; Lauren Katherine Dalton, associate in applied science, major in nursing; Takeisha Reid Davis, associate in applied science, major in administrative office technology, accounting concentration; Taylor Neil Deanhardt, associate in applied science, major in computer technology, network concentration; Fallon Lashae Derrick, associate in applied science, major in business administration, office management concentration; Kelsey Tamara Dorn, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing; Tabitha Crenshaw Farris, associate in applied science, major in nursing; Zane Ferguson, associate in applied science, major in automotive technology; Allison Gazella, associate in applied science, major in nursing; Moctavious Q. Goodman Jr., diploma in applied science, major in welding; Christopher Stephen Guire Jr., associate in applied science, major in general technology, welding concentration; Willie James Hackett Jr., associate in applied science, major in computer technology, programming concentration; Sykerria Nyrei Hill, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing; Amalia Huertas, associate in science; Ashley Marie Jackett, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing; ***Daniel Colt Johnson, associate in applied science, major in automotive technology; Jasmine Mechelle Johnson, associate in applied science, major in business administration, accounting concentration; ***Noel Michaela Johnson, associate in applied science, major in business administration, accounting concentration; Alison Charles Keller, associate in applied science, major in nursing; *Erica Shae Kuusela, associate in applied science, major in administrative office technology, medical coding/billing concentration; *Valerie Lee Lake, associate in applied science, major in administrative office technology, medical concentration; *Lauryn Elysabeth LeBlanc, associate in applied science, major in general technology, advertising design with photography concentration; Brian E. Love, associate in applied science, major in human services; Chelsey Marshall, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing; Rai-Eshia Martin, associate in applied science, major in funeral service; Caitlin Murphy McDonald, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing; Keshia T. Moore, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing; Amy A. Owensby, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing; Monquarius Ketoria Parks, associate in applied science, major in criminal justice; *Allison M. Rash, associate in applied science, major in business administration; Lashy Shante Rowell, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing; Maria Sanchez, associate in applied science, major in criminal justice; Zachary Thomas Scates, associate in science; Chance Fortenberry Smith, associate in applied science, major in nursing; Ian C. Smith, associate in applied science, major in computer technology, network concentration; Jade Mariah Smith, associate in applied science, major in nursing; Jonathan D. Smith, associate in applied science, major in mechatronics technology; Catherine Smithdeal, associate in applied science, major in nursing; *Kristina J. Sosby, associate in applied science, major in business administration; Whitney Elizabeth Suazo, associate in applied science, major in human services; Sunnie L. Svenningsen, associate in applied science, major in business administration, accounting concentration; Denise Taylor, associate in applied science, major in nursing; Mary Kathryn Thompson, associate in arts; Jadaisha Shontinese Aude Turman, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing; Stephanie Juanita Voiselle, associate in applied science, major in business administration; **Carey P. Wash, associate in applied science, major in administrative office technology, medical concentration; Janina C. Welton, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing; and Kacy Clark Winterhalter, associate in applied science, major in funeral service.

 

HODGES – Kevon Deandre Harrison, associate in applied science, major in mechatronics technology; **Haylea Brooke Jones, associate in applied science, major in general technology, surgical technology concentration; Jessica Blake Miller, associate in applied science, major in administrative office technology, medical concentration; **Kim Rosa, associate in applied science, major in business administration, management concentration; Deidra N. Sieburg, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing; and Jamila R. Speech, associate in applied science, major in business administration, accounting concentration.

 

NINETY SIX – Matthew Brett Ashley, associate in science; *Robert Paul Banks, associate in applied science, major in business administration, management concentration; Tina Marie Holladay, associate in applied science, major in nursing; and Jamiya T. Williams, associate in applied science, major in early care and education.                                                                                                                           

 

TROY – Melissa A. Williamson, associate in applied science, major in nursing.

 

WARE SHOALS – Gemma Maria Cathcart, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing; and ***Joseph D. Ellinger II, associate in applied science, major in criminal justice.

 

LAURENS COUNTY

CLINTON – Austin James Francis, associate in applied science, major in mechatronics technology; and Ashley Nicole Gary, associate in applied science, major in business administration, management concentration.

 

CROSS HILL – Deanna M. Peabody, associate in applied science, major in nursing; and Caroline Janelle Wagler, associate in applied science, major in nursing.

 

GRAY COURT – **Tiffany H. Huffman, associate in applied science, major in diversified agriculture.

 

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

 

JOANNA – *Betty Joanne South, associate in applied science, major in business administration; and Lisa Marie Walden, associate in applied science, major in administrative office technology, medical coding/billing concentration.

 

KINARDS – Shauna Kaye Goforth, associate in arts.

 

LAURENS – Tomas Andres, associate in applied science, major in building construction technology; Shannon Nicole Craig, associate in applied science, major in nursing; Christopher Dean Dillard, associate in applied science, major in business administration; Julie Elliott, associate in applied science, major in nursing; *Kalah Shannon Gary, associate in applied science, major in mechatronics technology; *Michelle Patricia Izaguirre, associate in applied science, major in mechatronics technology; Keivia Jivon Jackson, associate in applied science, major in general technology, patient care technician concentration; **Cole Logan Lanier Jr., associate in applied science, major in mechatronics technology; Tiffany T. Richard, associate in applied science, major in nursing; Jose E. Santos, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing; Raegan Nicole Sprouse, associate in applied science, major in administrative office technology, medical coding/billing concentration; **Benny Sullivan, diploma in applied science, major in welding; Crystal Nicole Turner, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing; Melinda Jade Vance, associate in applied science, major in general technology, pharmacy technology concentration; and Amanda Bree Wood, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing.

 

WARE SHOALS – *Wendy Ann Collum, associate in applied science, major in business administration; **Gabriel Marshall Mabry, associate in applied science, major in mechatronics technology; and Kriston D. Sullivan, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing.

 

WATERLOO – Karen Lewis, associate in applied science, major in criminal justice; **Lucky Joe Maroney, associate in applied science, major in engineering design technology; and *Thomas H. Maroney, associate in applied science, major in engineering design technology.

 

LEXINGTON COUNTY

BATESBURG – *Kelly Lybrand, associate in applied science, major in business administration, accounting concentration.

 

CHAPIN – Katherine Lee Zeady, associate in applied science, major in nursing; and *Thomas C. Zobel Jr., associate in applied science, major in mechatronics technology.

 

COLUMBIA – **Ashley M. Maricle, associate in applied science, major in mechatronics technology.

 

GASTON – *Tyrone Sands, associate in applied science, major in funeral service.

 

LEESVILLE – **Joshua Hall Hinton, associate in applied science, major in mechatronics technology; and Katerra Monique Lockett-Hill, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing.

 

LEXINGTON – Ean L. Crapps, associate in applied science, major in diversified agriculture.

 

WEST COLUMBIA – Deirdre Duley, associate in applied science, major in funeral service.

 

McCORMICK COUNTY

CLARKS HILL – Jade Deandrea Freeman, associate in applied science, major in human services.

 

McCORMICK – Emily Lauren Cannon, associate in applied science, major in nursing; Keyiona Watrice Hill, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing; and Faye Neal, associate in applied science, major in criminal justice.

 

PARKSVILLE – Jarrett Thomas Reed, associate in applied science, major in nursing.

 

PLUM BRANCH – Elisabeth Joy Christie, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing; *Noah Hunter Ladousier, associate in science; and Tha’Shalagh D. Simmons, associate in applied science, major in administrative office technology, medical concentration.

 

NEWBERRY COUNTY

CHAPIN – *Jenn Z. Chapman, associate in applied science, major in business administration, management concentration.

 

CHAPPELLS – *Tyler David Hill, associate in applied science, major in mechatronics technology.

 

NEWBERRY – *Caleb Daniel Bickley, associate in applied science, major in mechatronics technology; Andra Marie Brooks, associate in applied science, major in business administration; Jaimee S. Bush, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing; **Rokeisha M. Crooks, associate in applied science, major in general technology, surgical technology concentration; Maria Nicole Daniels, associate in applied science, major in nursing; Christopher Holland Driggers, associate in applied science, major in mechatronics technology; Suzanne Alicia Hatcher, associate in applied science, major in engineering design technology; Nicole Helen Marchant, associate in applied science, major in business administration, management concentration; Ethan Hunter Meetze, associate in applied science, major in computer technology, cybersecurity concentration; Ashley Marie Pasco, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing; Logan Ransdell, associate in applied science, major in business administration, management concentration; Charles Brandon Ruff, associate in arts; Jenna Lyn Shealy, associate in applied science, major in nursing; and Lasheena K. Turner, associate in applied science, major in general technology, surgical technology concentration.

 

POMARIA – Haley Margot Mauldin, associate in applied science, major in business administration, management concentration; and Christopher Austin Snelgrove, associate in applied science, major in diversified agriculture.

 

PROSPERITY – April D. Brazell, associate in applied science, major in nursing; Savannah Craven, associate in applied science, major in nursing; Katie Lynn Grooms, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing; *Victoria Ashlyn Kunkle, associate in arts; Brittany Erin Montjoy, associate in applied science, major in administrative office technology, medical concentration; Michael Craig Montjoy, associate in applied science, major in automotive technology; Laquesha S. Morris, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing; Essence Unique Stoudemire, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing; Katelyn Maroney Thompson, associate in applied science, major in computer technology, programming concentration; Ingrid Leann Trotter, associate in applied science, major in nursing; and Melissa Lynn Williams, associate in applied science, major in business administration, management concentration.

 

WHITMIRE – Amy L. Patterson, associate in applied science, major in criminal justice.

 

RICHLAND COUNTY

COLUMBIA – Jasmine Janeene Lee, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing.

 

EASTOVER – Brittney N. Gilmore, associate in applied science, major in funeral service.

 

IRMO – Oulang N. Rouppasong, associate in applied science, major in administrative office technology, accounting concentration.

 

SALUDA COUNTY

NINETY SIX – Jessica Christine Makl, associate in applied science, major in nursing.

 

SALUDA – Tina M. Bailey, associate in applied science, major in nursing; Matthew Skyler Lacaze, associate in applied science, major in nursing; **Martin Martinez-Clavijo, associate in applied science, major in mechatronics technology; and Matthew Cade Rodgers, associate in applied science, major in business administration, management concentration.

 

WARD – Maegan Danielle ONofrey, associate in applied science, major in nursing.

 

SPARTANBURG COUNTY

DUNCAN – Linh Thanh My Nguyen, associate in arts.

 

INMAN – Jennifer Nicole Petty, associate in applied science, major in funeral service.

 

OUT OF STATE

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Robert Lee Washington, associate in applied science, major in automotive technology.

 

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Kathryn Williams, associate in applied science, major in nursing.

 

ELBERTON, Ga. – Courtney Leigh Todd, associate in applied science, major in business administration, office management concentration.

 

GROVETOWN, Ga. – Clarissa Iris Hatchett, associate in applied science, major in nursing; and Salaythia Norman, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing.

 

HARTWELL, Ga. – Rhonda Bryant, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing; and *Matthew Arnold Strickland, associate in applied science, major in funeral service.

 

HEPHZIBAH, Ga. – Jennifer T. Wilson, associate in applied science, major in nursing.

 

LINCOLNTON, Ga. – Tessa Madison Cole, associate in applied science, major in nursing; and Shanta Towns, associate in applied science, major in human services.

 

BREVARD, N.C. – *Paul Edward Hoffman, 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

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PHOTO CUTLINES

  • Fall graduation afternoon speakers Noel Johnson, left, and Jade Freeman.
  • Fall graduation evening speaker Jade Smith.
  • Graduates enter the auditorium during the processional.
  • Lauryn LeBlanc, center, who graduated with an associate in general technology/advertising design with photography concentration, is flanked by professors, Mike Beckom, left, and Kendall Adams, right.