Nearly 600 graduates celebrated at CAC’s Signal Peak Campus commencement ceremony

(The following story is a recap of the Signal Peak graduation ceremony that was held May 18. A listing of graduates with their degrees, certificates and hometowns will be released this summer after they are confirmed.) 

By Guy Harrison, Media & Marketing Specialist 

PINAL COUNTY, Ariz. – Nearly 600 Central Arizona College students were celebrated for completing their degrees and certificates during the Signal Peak Campus commencement exercises on the evening of Saturday, May 18, before several thousand family members, friends and CAC employees. 

The graduation was one in a series of three commencement ceremonies spread across the district that saw the presentation of nearly 800 degrees and certificates – 590 at the Signal Peak Campus alone. This surges the total number of graduates to more than 20,000 in the 40-plus year history of CAC that features more than 28,000 degrees and certificates awarded. 

After a welcome and introductions conducted by Dr. James Moore, CAC’s vice president of college affairs, the graduates were addressed by Leslie Carlyle-Burnett (’98), senior planner of the Ak-Chin Indian Community. Her speech focused on her journey from college dropout to mother of two to CAC graduate - and the ups and downs she experienced in between.  

“If you embrace your failures and channel them positively toward your personal success, it will be worth it in the end,” Carlyle-Burnett said. 

Following Carlyle-Burnett’s speech, Coolidge-native and women’s basketball student-athlete Miranda Moore also addressed her fellow graduates. She spoke about the perseverance that was necessary for her to complete her degree after the tragic death of her mother in October. Going back to class and basketball proved challenging. 

“I learned that success is doing what you know you should do even when it seems like the toughest thing to do,” Moore said before sharing words of wisdom from her mother. “Suffer today for victory tomorrow. Times may be rough and it might be hard to see the light, but do what you’re supposed to and, soon, you’ll make it through.” 

Faculty Senate President Vickie Young-Chiverton presented the degree and certificate candidates to the CAC Governing Board which conferred the degrees and certificates. The graduating students were congratulated as they crossed the stage by the four members of the CAC Governing Board as well as CAC President Dr. Doris Helmich

In its purest form, commencement is defined as a beginning or start. For nearly 600 graduates, their work at CAC may be complete but their new journeys have just begun.

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