Dreams come true for CBC grads

PASCO -- Brittney Stephens' dad gave her some good advice.

He told her that she could make her dreams come true and be whatever she wanted to be.

Stephens, president of the Associated Students of Columbia Basin College, passed that same advice onto her classmates Friday during the Pasco college's graduation.

"You're about to begin another step in your journey toward fulfillment of your dreams," she told the Class of 2010.

A record number of students -- 1,067 -- graduated with two-year degrees or one-year certificates. About 450 participated in Friday's ceremony at the Toyota Center in Kennewick.

They were cheered on by hundreds of family and friends, who snapped photos, recorded video and craned to spot their graduate in the sea of blue caps and gowns.

CBC President Rich Cummins singled out four students for their excellence and perseverance. One of them was Edie Campbell, 37, a Pasco mom who overcame several hurdles to earn her associate's degree. She was featured in the Herald on Friday.

"These students are just four examples of why we're so proud of you," Cummins told the graduates.

David Arnold, president of CBC's faculty senate, got the students laughing with his words of wisdom for the future.

He urged the Class of 2010 to be sure to floss their teeth. "I don't mean sometimes. I mean every night," he said.

He also urged them to follow the advice of the late basketball coach John Wooden and, "Make each day your masterpiece."

"Don't settle," Arnold told the graduates. "Keep moving, pushing. Keep learning. Stay active."

Stephens, the student body president, praised her classmates for persevering through a tough time in higher education. A shrinking budget meant class sizes went up, she said.

But the challenges had some positive side effects, like a more vocal student body and a closer relationship with administrators, she said.

"Our class has proven that even when times get tough, students will find a way to make the best of what's been given," Stephens said.

She ended by congratulating her classmates in the caps and gowns.

"Let's go change the world," she said.

-- Sara Schilling: 582-1402; sschilling@tricityherald.com