Gadsden State Selects Speakers for First In-Person Graduation Since 2019

Gadsden State Selects Speakers for First In-Person Graduation Since 2019

Gadsden, Ala. – Gadsden State Community College has selected student speakers for the first in-person commencement ceremonies since December 2019. The ceremonies will be at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. May 7 at Gadsden State Cherokee. Graduates from the fall and spring semesters will be recognized.

“Graduation is all about our students so it’s only fitting that our speakers be students,” said Laura Swann, registrar. “These students represent the best of Gadsden State. We are very proud of them.”

The 11 a.m. ceremony will honor those receiving an associate degree in general studies as well as graduates from health science programs. Speakers are Noah Grady and Donna Cooley. The 6 p.m. ceremony recognizes graduates from all other Associate in Applied Science programs. Speakers are Melani Alward and Gold Kay-Hambolu.

Grady is a graduate of West End High School and a native of Altoona. He is graduating with an Associate of Science degree with plans to transfer to Jacksonville State University to pursue a degree in Accounting. As a Gadsden State student, he served the College as an ambassador, was a member of the Student Government Association and was chosen as Homecoming King. He is a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, where he serves as vice president of scholarships. He has also volunteered his time on the ASPIRE Finance Committee, the panel for the Instructional Officers Association, the Convocation Panel, the Student Leadership Committee at The Chamber of Gadsden/Etowah and the Calendar Committee. He was a guest speaker during a recent Gadsden State professional development session.

At the Honors Day program held earlier this month, Grady was the recipient of the Allen-Ray Award of Excellence, the highest honor bestowed annually on a Gadsden State student. He also won the Outstanding Achievement Award in Economics and was named a Student of Distinction. Grady has a 4.0 GPA and has maintained a spot on the President’s List.

Cooley is a resident of Ashland and a graduate of Clay County High School. In 2020, she completed her certificate in Practical Nursing at Gadsden State. For over 15 years, she worked in the healthcare field before enrolling in the Registered Nursing Program. She will receive an Associate in Applied Science degree. As a Gadsden State student, Cooley has served as president of her nursing class and is a Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. She is a full-time employee and student who has an overall 3.48 GPA. 

Alward graduated from Santa Rosa High School in Jay, Fla., and now resides in Spring Garden. She is graduating with an Associate of Science degree and plans to transfer to JSU. At Gadsden State, she has been active in Student Support Services, the Gadsden State Student Alumni Association and Phi Theta Kappa. She is well known among her fellow students as a peer tutor for both SSS and the Cardinal Tutoring Center. She is a five-time recipient of the Outstanding Tutor Award as well as the Rising Scholar Award. Alward has a 4.0 GPA despite working four part-time jobs and attending classes.

Kay-Hambolu, a native of Nigeria, came to the U.S. for the sole purpose of attending Gadsden State. Now, a resident of Austell, Ga., he will graduate with an Associate in Science degree in general studies. He plans to transfer to a four-year university to pursue a degree in Civil Engineering. While at Gadsden State, he served as a resident assistant in Fowler Residence Hall, is a member of Phi Theta Kappa and Students Without Borders and has performed volunteer work for Sleep in Heavenly Peace. At the recent Honors Day program, he was honored with the Outstanding Achievement Award in Mathematics / Pre-engineering. Kay-Hambolu is graduating with a 4.0 GPA.

Graduates and their families are reminded that guests are limited to four per graduate. Both ceremonies will be live streamed on Facebook. This is due to limited seating availability as well as a precaution against the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Guests will be social distanced. Masks will be worn by anyone entering the Gadsden State Cherokee Arena (with the exception of infants). Graduates will wear masks during the recognition portion of the ceremony but they may remove the mask for the posed photo opportunity. The traditional handshake with Gadsden State leaders will not take place due to the pandemic. Graduates and their guests are asked to not gather inside the Arena following the ceremony. Both ceremonies will be live streamed.




Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on print