‘Take a chance’

Tiffin woman encourages fellow Terra grads to challenge themselves

PHOTO BY NICOLE WALBY Rhonda Rose, of Tiffin, student speaker during Terra State Community College’s commencement ceremony, tells fellow graduates to be their best Friday.

FREMONT — More than 300 students earned associate’s degrees and certificates Friday during Terra State Community College’s 49th commencement ceremony.

“This is a very special evening,” Jerome Webster, Terra State’s president, said.

Each year, Webster offers facts about the graduating class. He said the youngest member of the Class of 2018 was 16 and the oldest was 65.

“You’re achievements are Terra State’s achievements,” Webster said. “Always champion the call to learn.”

Rhonda Rose of Tiffin delivered the student commencement address.

PHOTO BY NICOLE WALBY Commencement speaker Jack Hershey offers advice to soon-to-be graduates at Terra State Friday.

Rose, who earned an associate’s degree in health information technology Friday, said she started at Terra in the spring of 2016 after becoming unemployed as a chef.

“I was tired of being in a dead-end job,” Rose said. “I did not know what to expect.”

Rose spoke of how thankful she was to her professors.

“My professors profoundly changed my life,” she said.

Rose also discussed the importance of support from her family.

“I love you to the moon and back,” she said to her family in the audience.

“This is the end of this chapter of our lives and we are moving on to our next,” she said. “Your story can be as colorful and as big as you can imagine and as real as your dream. Trust the voice in your head and take a chance.”

Jack Hershey, president and CEO of the Ohio Association of Community Colleges, delivered the keynote address.

Hershey said people tend to hide failures and elaborate on successes.

“I was an excellent student throughout high school, but then I got to college,” he said. “I learned a lot from my failures.”

Hershey said he finally adapted to his surroundings and became a better student because of his failures.

“Do not be afraid to take risks,” he said. “Don’t be afraid to fail.”

Hershey also spoke of society’s obsession with superheroes today, especially with Batman.

“Here are my theories of why,” he said. “Batman is not a superhero, but the greatest student. He does not have the ability to fly or jump over tall buildings. He is a normal human being who never stopped learning.”

Hershey said Batman would seek out information about his foes and what he did not know he would learn from his teachers and mentors.

“Going forward, always be Batman.” he said. “Never stop learning.”

Like an intern on the set of Christopher Reeves’ “Superman” films, who chose to be the best and always ran from one job to the next, Hershey said it is important to show your passions and excitement in your next job.

“People will notice,” he said.

Hershey told graduates to try to inspire others.

“You are going to inspire someone, whether you know it or not,” he said.