Falcons leave the nest

Since 1955, Cerritos College has helped individuals interested in higher education get what they needed taken care of and then propelled into the world of labor to pursue a career.

In more recent times Cerritos College has been seen as a safe haven for students that aspire to be more, they find themselves here, in these classrooms and in these halls.

They struggle to balance work with a life that at times can be so ruthless and relentless that they lose hope.

Some leave to join those in a blue collar or white collar field to not only increase this nation’s wealth but to make sure those at home are ensured a meal.

However, this college does not close its doors, instead it offers the opportunity to those individuals to get back to the drawing board and achieve their dreams.

Others join our nation’s armed forces to give everything they have so that the ones they love see the light of day.

In they end, they return to complete their education.

Most dream bigger and bolder, and use Cerritos College as a stepping stone to spread wings grander than ever imagined and say “I did it.”

And when that day comes, to spread their wings, the school calls that commencement.

Those in charge of putting commencement day together are the men and women of the Student Life Committee.

According to Dean of Student Services Dr. Gilbert Contreras, who is the committee chair, one of the jobs undertaken by the committee is selecting a speaker that will dispatch those leaving Cerritos College and moving on.

He said, “The speaker is selected by student life and it’s usually during the spring semester. We come up with a list of possible speakers, then we narrow it down.”

The Student Life Committee is where it all starts according to Contreras.

He said, “We make sure we work together so that we can have a great commencement.”

Although preparations for the Spring 2015 commencement have already been discussed, Contreras said that the committee is planning multiple changes for others to come in the future.

“We want to have announcements or prerecorded messages in both a male and female voice and in spanish and english similar to the messages you would hear at Disneyland. Also [we want to] work on a presentation to show to those commencing how it’s done and switch to cords.

“And we are looking into having one solid color robe for next year,” Contreras said.

Amna Jara, student activities coordinator, has worked for Cerritos College for seven to eight years.

She said, “Commencement is an event that I look forward to all year and I don’t consider that there are any challenges that go with it.

“All college departments take pride in this event and it is a true collaboration. From admissions and records, counseling, public relations, purchasing and fiscal to the bookstore and student activities and campus police.”

According to Jara, commencement isn’t only for students to tie a bow on their time at Cerritos College, but also a time for all those involved to acknowledge the hard work the community puts in.