In graduation caps and gowns, more than 300 members of the Moraine Park Technical College Class of 2008 left the Fond du Lac High School Field House as the newest Moraine Park alumni on Saturday, May 17.
“Instruction begins in the classroom, but learning continues throughout life” was the class motto adopted by the graduates from the Beaver Dam, Fond du Lac and West Bend campuses. A total of 1,095 students completed their Moraine Park studies, with 469 receiving associate of applied science degrees, 500 receiving technical diplomas and 126 receiving program certificates.
Moraine Park President Gayle Hytrek presided over the College’s commencement ceremony and presented the degrees, diplomas and certificates with the assistance of Moraine Park District Board members Lisa Mader, chair, and Jodine Deppisch, employee member.
“Commencement is a very significant event in our students’ lives,” said Dr. Hytrek as she addressed those gathered. “On behalf of all of us at Moraine Park Technical College, I would like to extend our congratulations and best wishes to all of you graduating today. You should be very proud of yourselves for reaching this milestone in your lives. You have worked hard and sacrificed a great deal during the past year or years and there is a wonderful future in front of you. Today, you join a huge group of very successful people — our graduates. They are the fabric that supports Wisconsin.”
Members of the graduating class from each campus addressed their fellow students, faculty and guests on the class motto’s theme of lifelong learning: Raelene Nauer of Beaver Dam, Administrative Assistant program; Michael Kiehnau of Fond du Lac, Culinary Arts program; and Leslie Troedel of Slinger, Administrative Assistant and Legal Administrative Professional programs.
“My experience at this college has instilled in me a love of learning and a thirst of knowledge that I had not had before,” said Raelene Nauer. “So many times in my life I have wanted to learn a new skill, but as soon as it got hard I gave up, thinking I was defeated. There is no giving up at Moraine Park. There is help from so many and in so many ways I was encouraged not to give up, and the result was success.”
Nauer also thanked the College for the many opportunities she had to participate in student government, college planning leadership and the Quality Council Team. “Being a student rep for these teams was invaluable. It gave me an insight into what business is like behind the scenes. I encourage all future students to serve on the different committees offered and become involved in student life.”
In his speech, Mike Kiehnau said, “As we all gather today to celebrate a lifetime achievement, I think to myself, ‘How we can continue our education?’ Then it hit me – we can live our lives. Waking up each morning, I look at life and say, ‘It’s going to be a great day; now, what am I going to learn?’ … Regardless of what we do once we walk out the back doors, I challenge each and every one of you to continue our education in some way, shape or form. Remember, your academic experience may be finished but your lifelong learning has just begun.”
The final student speaker, Leslie Troedel, thanked her family, friends and instructors. “When I came to Moraine Park as a dislocated worker after 17 years, I was nervous and scared, scared of failure,” she said. “I never thought I could come as far as I have. I remember being afraid to write a paper in written communications. Now I am writing commencement speeches. I received encouragement and guidance from so many people, and now am proud to say that I am graduating as a high honor student. Being inducted into Phi Theta Kappa was one of the happiest and proudest moments of my life.”
Ronald J. Ford, Moraine Park Class of 1994, was presented with the College’s 2008 Distinguished Alumnus Award by Dan Ensalaco, vice president of academics and economic development. A graduate of Moraine Park’s Electromechanical Technology program, Ford is president and CEO of Deutz Power Systems of America in Norcross, Georgia. “You have just completed the first step in what can be a most incredible journey that is out there waiting for you,” he told the new graduates. “You can take your career as far as you want it to go. … You have a great education, taught by dedicated professionals who have prepared you for this journey. Now it’s up to you.”
The graduation processional was led by bagpiper Gina Crossley, with the ceremonial music performed by Brassination, a brass quintet from the Fond du Lac area. Shady Grove, also from the Fond du Lac area, provided the pre-ceremonial music. A reception was held at the high school.