Now is the best time in years to be graduating, according to Joe Eddy.
Eddy, who served Friday as West Virginia Northern Community College's commencement speaker, acknowledged plenty of challenges remain for those fresh out of college and entering the job market. However, he said opportunities exist for those willing to look for them.
"The key here is that you don't spend so much time trying to find the perfect opportunity that you miss the right opportunity," Eddy said, stressing the need to remain adaptable and open-minded. "It is my experience that many times the toughest challenges present the best opportunities for advancement and growth."
Photo by Daniel Dorsch/From left, West Virginia Northern Community College President Martin Olshinsky, Vice President of Academic Affairs Vicki Riley, Distinguished Alumnus David Hanes, Valedictorian Hayley Argentine, speaker Joe Eddy and Board of Governors Chair Darrell Cummings prepare for Friday night’s commencement ceremony at WesBanco Arena in Wheeling.
Eddy is the president and chief executive officer of Eagle Manufacturing Co. in Wellsburg, and said he is very pleased to work with the college at every opportunity.
Hayley Argentine, valedictorian and winner of the Donald D. Nemanich and Sarah O. Bodkin Academic Excellence Award, agreed with Eddy's advice on perseverance, thanking the teachers, friends and families of this year's graduating class for their support while she encouraged her classmates to use their new degrees to accomplish their dreams.
"Our future is what we make it," Argentine said. "Never give up on what you want."
Like many of her classmates, Argentine said her future remains a mystery, but she intends to use her associate of applied sciences degree in radiography to work as an X-ray technician.
The West Virginia Northern Community College Class of 2014 totaled 379 students earning 421 degrees. Age, professional background and career goals this year were very diverse, according to President Martin Olshinsky.
"There's such a variety of people, it's a very nice mix," Olshinsky said. "There are a lot of first-generation graduates. It's good to see a lot of people coming in."
Eddy added he has deep respect for this year's graduates and all their accomplishments, especially in the face of everyday challenges.