Eastern Hosts 2024 Graduation Ceremony at Moorefield High School

MOOREFIELD, W.Va. – Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College honored 27 Fall 2023 and 54 Spring 2024 graduates at the college’s commencement ceremony on May 4 at Moorfield High School. Fifty of the graduates participated in the ceremony.

(l-r) Crystal Goodwater, Nursing Graduate, and Student Speaker, Dr. Tom Striplin, President, Kent Leonhardt, Commissioner for the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, Greg Greenwalt, Board of Governors Chair, and Sheldon Arbaugh, Board of Governors Vice-President.

Speakers for the graduation ceremony included President Thomas Striplin, Ed.D.; Board of Governors chairman Greg Greenwalt; invocation was nursing graduate Victoria “Tori” Hyndman; student speaker Crystal Goodwater; benediction Tiffany Sentmen, student services program coordinator; and Commissioner for the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, Kent Leonhardt, who delivered the commencement address.

Goodwater talked about her history of being a non-traditional student, as she had gone to college many times, earning other degrees, but is now completing another to become an RN, while also graduating with her daughter. “I am grateful that I chose Eastern and I am grateful that Eastern is a community college that truly knows its students. Now it’s time to pivot our focus and look to the future,” said Goodwater, “Some of you will walk out of here today ready to start your jobs, some will continue onto the next level of education. You may have been encouraged to step out of your comfort zone and step into a new situation, discovering your potential. I encourage you to go bravely and take that first step.”

(l-r) Dr. Tom Striplin, President of Eastern, Kent Leonhardt, Commissioner for the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, Greg Greenwalt, Board of Governors Chair, Sheldon Arbaugh, Board of Governors Vice-President, Andrew Blackwood, Board of Trustees member, Dr. Megan Webb, Dean of Advancement and Innovation, and Monica Wilson, Interim Vice President of Academics and Student Services.

Leonhardt asked the graduates to do three things,” First, find a job or career you truly love, second, take time for yourself and your family. Third, take time to volunteer where you see a need.” He expanded upon these asks by providing insight from his life, telling everyone, “not to fear change, but face it with enthusiasm.”

(l-r-Backrow- Nea Orem, MacKenzie Weasenforth, Danielle Crider, Michelle Adkins, and Kayleigh Shifflett)
(Third Row – Sarah Armentrout, Kimberly Fout, Kayla Lantz, Rachel Smith, Taylor Treadway, Emilee Strickland, Brianna Jones, Christopher Barnes, Emily Adkins, Shantel McDonald, Whitney Simon, and Holly Wilson)
(Second Row- Jodie Crites, Matthew Van Meter, Jonathan Kite, Coleman Mongold, Logan Thorne, Aaron Ammons, Quincy Combs, Joselyn Evans, Jesslyn McCaslin, Alexandria Wyman, and Tamiya Miller)
(Front Row- Caleb Lockard, Clayton Price, Tammy Shingleton, Briana Wratchford, Tricia Poe, Trevor Southerly, Alysandra Goodwater, Crystal Goodwater, Tori Hyndman, Jamie Reel, and Dr. Tom Striplin, President)

Three awards were given at the ceremony. Two awards were given to Kent Leonhardt and a surprise award was presented to Greg Greenwalt. Leonhardt received the Apex Award and the Harold K. Michael Founders Award. The APEX Award honors organizations serving citizens, employers, and communities of the Potomac Highlands. The Harold K. Michael Founders Award is presented annually to an individual who has demonstrated outstanding contributions to the college.

Greg Greenwalt was awarded a 10-Year Service Award, on behalf of the college for serving as the Board of Governor’s chair. He will be retiring after this year, where Sheldon Arbaugh, current vice-president of the board will step up as the next chairperson.

Insight from one student Trevor Southerly, student representative for the Board of Governors and president of the Student Government Association gave insight on his time at Eastern by saying, “Choosing Eastern over larger, more renowned institutions was a decision driven by three core factors: proximity to family, community involvement opportunities, and the promise of graduating without the burden of debt. While initially skeptical of the perceived limitations of a community college education, my perceptions quickly shifted upon encountering the caliber of educators at Eastern… As I stand on the precipice of a new chapter, I am grateful for the lessons learned, the relationships forged, and the memories cherished during my time at Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College. Armed with a diverse skill set, a passion for service, and an unwavering commitment to lifelong learning, I am confident in my ability to navigate the complexities of the professional world and make a meaningful impact in whatever endeavors lie ahead.”

To view the recorded graduation, go here (on Facebook). A complete list of the area’s Fall 2023 and Spring 2024 graduates will be released later this month.

About Eastern
Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College, based in Moorefield, serves six counties in the Potomac Highlands of West Virginia and offers academic programs and workforce training. Learn more about Eastern at https://easternwv.edu.