Some of the officials seated on stage for Wor-Wic Community College commencement exercises at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center are shown, from left, John Cannon of Salisbury, president of the Wicomico County Council; Martin T. Neat of Salisbury, a member of the board of trustees at Wor-Wic; Dr. Ray Hoy of Salisbury, president of the college; Jacob R. Day, Maryland secretary of Housing and Community Development, who was the commencement speaker; Wicomico County Executive Julie M. Giordano of Hebron; and Chip Bertino of Berlin, president of the Worcester County Commissioners.
Wicomico County Executive Julie M. Giordano of Hebron congratulates some of the graduates who received their associate degrees at Wor-Wic Community College commencement exercises at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center. From left, next to Giordano, are Jennifer Tremont of Fruitland, a general studies graduate, Asher Pierre of Salisbury, a business graduate, and Christopher Hatton of Mardela Springs, a physical therapist assistant graduate.
FROM OCEAN CITY.
Sen. Mary Beth Carozza, R-38, of Ocean City, congratulates some of the graduates from Ocean City who received their associate degrees at Wor-Wic Community College commencement exercises at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center. From left, next to Carozza, are Mihaela Petrovschi, a criminal justice graduate, Evan Marlowe, a general studies graduate, Sonia McFarland, a nursing graduate, and Jean Morales, a chemical dependency counseling graduate.
FROM SOUTHERN WORCESTER.
Russell W. Blake of Pocomoke City, a member of the board of trustees at Wor-Wic Community College, congratulates some of the graduates from southern Worcester County who received their associate degrees at commencement exercises at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center. From left, next to Blake, are Seanna Webb of Eden, an emergency medical services graduate, and Jason Palmer of Pocomoke City, a general studies graduate.
FROM NORTHERN WORCESTER.
From left, Sam Witte, Ernie Wagner, Jason Beauchamp and Tim Boston of the Hebron Savings Bank team, had the lowest gross score in the 20th annual Wor-Wic Community College golf tournament at the college’s Ocean Resorts Golf Club in Berlin.
Del. Charles J. Otto, R-38A, of Princess Anne, congratulates some of the graduates from Somerset County who received their associate degrees at Wor-Wic Community College commencement exercises at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center. From left, next to Otto, are Hannah Morton of Westover, a general studies graduate, Jecola Smith of Princess Anne, an education graduate, and Miranda Adkins of Crisfield, a nursing graduate.
UPPER SHORE GRADUATES.
Sen. Johnny Mautz, R-37B, of St. Michaels, congratulates some of the graduates from the Upper Shore who received their associate degrees at Wor-Wic Community College commencement exercises at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center. From left, next to Mautz, are Chyann Pressley of Easton, a chemical dependency counseling graduate, Samantha Hurley of Federalsburg, a radiologic technology graduate, Tyler Wright of Cambridge, a physical therapist assistant graduate, and Tyrone Stanley of Hurlock, a general studies graduate.
Verne’ Shaw-Johnson of Newark receives her diploma from Dr. Ray Hoy, president of Wor-Wic Community College. Shaw-Johnson said the COVID-19 pandemic pause made her return to school, where she earned an associate degree in general studies.
Graduates wait to turn their tassels at the Wor-Wic Community College commencement ceremony.
During Wor-Wic Community College commencement ceremonies at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center in Salisbury, Jacob R. Day, Maryland’s secretary of Housing and Community Development, encouraged the graduates to be open to the possibilities that await them.
“If you wish to make things happen – whatever your wish may be – don’t be timid in your vision,” Day said. “But to my point: Falling in love with your ideas and your plans means you run the risk of not opening yourself to learning. For the plans you’ve made today and the perfect idea you have in this moment doesn’t have the benefit of tomorrow’s information.”
Day added, “There’s one more risk to falling deeply in love with your ideas today … not only will it stunt your willingness to learn new information, but it can stop you from believing that the rest of humanity may have something to offer you. This world is beautiful because we each have something to teach each other – thanks to all of our differences.”
Day noted that, as a Salisbury native, he had experienced many milestones of his own at the civic center, and said he was glad to return for this occasion. “I’m struck by this moment in the history of Wor-Wic because I get to share a stage with the tenacious and focused leader who has left his indelible mark on this institution — the gentleman, the leader, the visionary — your president for the last 23 years, Dr. Ray Hoy. Twenty-three years ago, as I was graduating high school in this very room, Dr. Ray Hoy was becoming only the second leader of this institution. A dream without a classroom became a vision in a cornfield. And rather than stopping there, it has grown into a beautiful and proud cornerstone of our community.”
Day wished the graduates success in their post-college careers. “I hope you find the thing that will spark your interest and make you want to dive in so deep that you tear it apart and that it spawns the next interest and the next – that thing that will turn into your life’s passion and take you on unimaginable journeys.”
After the commencement address by Day, Dr. Ray Hoy, college president, presented him with a plaque on behalf of the 2023 graduating class. Hoy is retiring on June 30, and took a moment to reflect on the occasion of his final commencement. “Being part of the celebration of your success and all of those before you has honestly been the most rewarding part of my job,” he said.
Martin T. Neat of Salisbury, member of Wor-Wic’s board of trustees, introduced the commencement speaker, members of the board of trustees and other guests on stage.
Dr. Bryan Newton, vice president for enrollment management and student services, introduced the student speaker, Amber Bloomfield of Pocomoke City. Bloomfield shared her experiences of how she overcame personal challenges to reach her goal of graduating.
“During my time here at Wor-Wic Community College, I have learned many valuable lessons. … The first is that no matter who you are, no matter what your background is, the future is still up to you. There was a time when I didn’t believe I could do or amount to anything,” she said. “I was bounced around from foster home to foster home, so many times that I lost count, never feeling like I belonged anywhere or to anyone. And I gradually began to completely shut myself off from the world around me. Then, a bright light shone into my dark corner when my grandparents took my two brothers and me out of foster care and adopted us.”
Bloomfield credited her grandparents with helping inspire her studies. “My grandparents picked up on my love for learning and were quick to instill an overwhelming sense of love and confidence in me,” she said. “They also compelled me to be more involved in extracurricular activities, like after-school and summer programs.”
It was in one of those extracurricular programs that Bloomfield discovered her passion: crime scene investigation. She was able to follow that dream in college. “In my time at Wor-Wic, the staff and faculty were so encouraging and saw something in me that I did not give myself credit for,” she said. “The professors were people that actually worked throughout the criminal justice system so that each and every class was taught from personal experience rather than from just a textbook. They taught with such a contagious passion about their jobs that it made me infinitely more confident in my career choice and, more importantly, it assured me that my college choice could not have been better in any way.”
Bloomfield received her associate degree in criminal justice - forensic science technology and has been accepted into a bachelor’s degree program for crime scene investigation.
Nursing was the most popular major. Andrew Herndon of Parsonsburg said his family inspired him to pursue a nursing degree. The father of two girls, ages 3 and 5, had worked in TidalHealth Peninsula Regional’s emergency department as a technician for years. “I decided I needed to further my career for my family,” he said. Herndon said that while juggling family, a job and school could be a challenge, it was worth it. “It’s a commitment,” he said. “I knew I might have some long nights ahead of me, but I had to commit for a better future.”
General studies was the second most popular major among members of the graduating class, including Verne’ Shaw-Johnson of Newark. Shaw-Johnson said the COVID-19 pandemic made her re-evaluate her priorities and inspired her to go back to school.
“I knew I needed to get a feel for being back in the classroom,” she said. “Wor-Wic was the perfect place. Everyone has been so kind and willing to help. I had a feeling of belonging and I knew I was getting somewhere.”
Shaw-Johnson will continue her education at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, where she plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in sports management.
Other graduates received degrees or certificates in business, chemical dependency counseling, computer studies, education, emergency medical services, hotel-motel-restaurant management, occupational therapy assistant, office technology, physical therapist assistant, radiologic technology and STEM.
The majority of the graduates were from Salisbury or other parts of Wicomico County, followed by Worcester and then Somerset counties. Graduates were also from Dorchester, Caroline, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Talbot and other counties in Maryland, as well as from nearby states.
In addition to the speakers, dignitaries included board of trustees members Russell W. Blake of Pocomoke City and Anna G. Newton of Berlin, Chip Bertino of Berlin, president of the Worcester County Commissioners, John Cannon of Salisbury, president of the Wicomico County Council, Wicomico County Executive Julie M. Giordano of Hebron, Sen. Mary Beth Carozza, R-38, of Ocean City, Del. Charles Otto, R-38A, of Princess Anne, and Sen. Johnny Mautz, R-37B, of St. Michaels. The Rev. Dr. Margaret Brack of St. Alban’s Episcopal Church and Faith Lutheran gave the invocation and benediction.