Waiting patiently in line to graduate from Northeast State Community College Tuesday in the Mountain State Health Alliance Athletics Center at East Tennessee State University was the highly decorated Anne Rowell, who wore a sash for her affiliation and leadership with Phi Theta Kappa, as well as two other medals –– one for having a 4.0 GPA and another for being selected as an All-Tennessee Scholar.
And if the excitement of graduation wasn’t enough for the Meadowview, Va., native, learning that she was accepted into the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University on the same day of her graduation seemed to seal the deal.
“I just found out today ... I got into ... Tisch,” Rowell said. “From a community college to Tisch.”
Attending Northeast State on a scholarship, she said Tuesday that she was graduating with an associate of arts and sciences in psychology, a degree in secondary education, and was also transferring into the theater program.
“I explored all the opportunities and ... I’ve had the chance to be involved with so many different extracurriculars, things that I didn’t even know Northeast State had,” Rowell said. “There’s a lot of ... great opportunities there. I want to cry, because I’m so ... thankful for all the opportunities Northeast State has given me. In all sincerity ... I would have never ... made it into ... Tisch if it wasn’t for Northeast State.”
Graduating with an associates of nursing degree, Laura Thomas of Piney Flats said while the road to graduation wasn’t easy, it was all worth it to be walking across the stage at Tuesday’s ceremony.
“I am expecting and I know that that’s going to provide a better future and a better life for (my son) and my family,” Thomas said. “I’m also the first one in my family to actually graduate ... from a college like this, with a degree like this. That means a lot as well.”
She said she also plans on pursuing her bachelor’s degree in nursing.
Lauren Thomson, graduating with an associate of applied science in criminal justice degree, said her four years serving in the Air Force helped her hone in on choosing a degree.
“I was (in) security forces, so I was ... military police while I was in the service and it inspired me to further my degree once I got out,” she said. “I want to work with children ... whether it’s probation or child services, DCS. I want to do something with law enforcement and children.”
On Thursday, Thomson said she would be attending ETSU’s orientation to start work on her bachelors in criminal justice, but said she enjoyed her time at Northeast State.
“It was a great campus, good teachers,” she said. “I like the small classes because the teachers can (be) more one on one. There’s a lot of tutoring services that they offer, too.”
According to a Northeast State news release, the community college Tuesday awarded more than 1,200 degrees and certificates, making he Class of 2013 the largest class ever.
Newt Raff, chairman of the board of First Tennessee Bank’s Northeast Tennessee Region, was the commencement speaker.