United States Attorney William Ihlenfeld's words of advice to the West Virginia Northern Community College graduating class of 2013 Friday were simple.
Ihlenfeld, who served as commencement speaker for the class of 407 students, said while he has accomplished a lot in his life, there is one act that brings him the most joy.
"You don't have to be a prosecutor to be a community problem solver," Ihlenfeld told the graduates. "What are you doing for others?"
Ihlenfeld implored the graduates to become involved in their community and give back to those who helped them reach their graduation day. He said the expansion of WVNCC has already helped breath new life into downtown Wheeling, an example of community involvement those assembled should follow.
Ihlenfeld also reminded graduates to be proud of where they are from and always keep close ties with their friends and colleagues as they move on to the next part of their lives.
Nathan Schmidt, a Martins Ferry resident who earned valedictorian honors, also spoke to his fellow students, saying despite the different paths each student took to earn their degree, they all undoubtedly faced challenges along the way.
He specifically cited those non-traditional students who raise families and work full-time jobs while attending school as examples of what can be achieved in life.
"Regardless of what the future holds for us, we should all be tremendously proud of what we've achieved," he said.
The 407 graduates earned 491 certificates and and degrees, making it the largest class in the community college's history.