By William K. Alcorn
Kasie Lyniece Rogers said she could hardly wait to see the looks of accomplishment on the faces of her fellow Youngstown Early College graduates as she gave the valedictorian address at the group’s commencement Sunday at the DeYor Performing Arts Center.
Speaking before the ceremony began, Rogers said she has worked since kindergarten to become a class valedictorian and that Youngstown Early College helped her achieve that dream.
During her valedictorian address, Rogers praised the graduates’ families and staff of YEC for their support and thanked them for teaching the class members to become problem solvers and critical thinkers.
In her Salutatorian address, Kayleen Lashay Hackett urged fellow graduates to “have an open mind because you don’t know what’s around the corner.”
Graduate Mariola Marrero said attending YEC gave her a feeling for what college will be like. She plans to attend YSU to become a forensic scientist and pursue a career in law enforcement.
The DeYor-Ford Recital was filled with proud family and friends of the graduates.
Among them were several proud members of Andrew Lee’s family, including his father, Nicholas Lee; older brother, Nevin Lee; cousin, Joseph Downs; and a great-grandmother and two grandmothers, including Dorothy Victoria who raised the new graduate, who plans to study mechanical engineering at YSU.
“I’m so proud of him. He made the Dean’s list when he received his associates degree in Liberal Arts and Science Saturday, she said.
Keynote speaker Dr. Tiffany Anderson, assistant professor in the English Department at YSU, urged the graduates to remember who they are “repping.”
“The answer is you are repping all of us ... it’s Youngstown, YSU Early College and your families. And we expect you to rep us with excellence,” Anderson said.
Charles L. Howell, dean of YSU’s Beeghly College of Education, said when YSU President Jim Tressel arrived on campus he asked what he should know.
Howell said he told the university’s new president that the Youngstown Early College is the “jewel of your crown.” Howell urged the graduates to “look for people who will help you become successful.”