A few ECC graduates to talk about what this achievement means to them
Graduate stories and more
See all of our graduation essays in the Feature Stories section.
Thank you Dr. Gregory Robinson, and ECC faculty and trustees. It's my honor today to deliver the commencement address for my incredible fellow ECC classmates. Also, I want to welcome peers’ families, and faculty to this graduation day at Elgin Community College. Please note that each one of you has made a positive impact on each one of us who is graduating today.
I want to thank everyone for coming to graduation. I haven’t seen this many happy people in quite some time. It is humbling to be able to address and represent a group with so many different stories to tell.
When I was a high school student, I never thought I would be able to say I am vice president of student government, the social media coordinator for the Human Services Club, an Elgin Community College honors graduate, and transferring to my dream school, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Did you have a chance to stop and think about what you want from life? It might be one of the most challenging questions that someone can answer. As a mother of eight children, my immediate answer is “to be a good mom,” but a question behind that answer resonated in my mind: “How to become that good mom that my children need?” Then I realized that what I needed was to understand who I am.
Elgin Community College was a surprise in many different ways. I hadn’t considered applying here until a few weeks before school started in 2020. My future was uncertain due to the global pandemic and family complications, but ECC provided me with normalcy.
I never considered getting an education past high school was something meant for me. For ten years, I was in and out of Elgin Community College multiple times, trying different things. I reapplied to ECC one last time, and it has been one of the best academic experiences of my life.
Growing up, I was never a kid that knew what they wanted to be when they grew up. I went through phases of wanting to be a teacher, a doctor, a vet, a ballerina; all the things little girls say they want to be. It wasn’t until my high school AP biology class that I really started to fall in love with human anatomy and the medical field.
It has been a great journey attending Elgin Community College for the last two years. ECC has allowed me to enhance not only my educational career but also my career in softball. I have played softball for the last 15 years, and I was not sure if I would be able to continue playing once I reached the collegiate level.
Between 2013 and 2022, I've changed majors eight times, been to three universities, earned an associate in science, completed over 100 credit hours, have a cumulative GPA of 2.8, earned my industrial maintenance certificate, and will start my career repairing kidney transporters. During my time at Elgin Community College, I was part of the Anime Club.
When I began my journey at Elgin Community College, graduating with my Associate in Science appeared to me like an impossible goal to achieve. I felt this way for many reasons, and it seemed that there were more reasons why I would not make it than reasons why I could.
I have wanted to be a nurse for as long as I can remember. In 2018, the time was right for me to go back to school. I investigated a number of schools, and found my home at ECC.
Since high school, I have had a passion for engineering and have always planned to get a degree in that field. However, despite being told multiple times that taking a gap year was a bad decision, I wasn’t sure I was financially ready for college. In the end, I decided to take a gap year to work and build up my finances.
We all have different reasons to learn English, to get our GED diploma, but we have in common something great, which is our desire to change our lives and the lives of those around us. I hope that my story inspires and motivates you to keep moving forward and keep fighting for your goals and dreams.
Taryn White, student speaker for the Career & Technical Programs Commencement Ceremony, took a risk that paid off big for her future.
Zain Alsalhani reflects on his time at ECC. We are here to celebrate our achievements and comradery not as just students but as a community.
Elgin Community College constantly challenged me to strive for excellence and put my best foot forward. Because of ECC, I am more driven and embrace challenges.
For Ashley Freeman choosing Elgin Community College was a no-brainer. While studying at ECC, Ashley was able to find the right career path in Healthcare.
Shortly after immigrating from Cameroon, Sandra Djou started her ECC journey as an English as a Second Language. Now, she's graduating with her associate degree and heading to her bachelor's.
Linda Kooper knew she wanted her life to be different by having a brighter future. She thought about the best path for her, so she decided to attend ECC.
Taylor Vitacco reflects on her journey at ECC. This school has provided me with endless opportunities, such as taking leadership roles within different clubs.
Elgin Community College helped Katherine Castiglione smoothly transition to college. The warm welcome brought a sense of belonging.
Leslie Miranda is highly grateful to her professors and clinical instructors in the nursing program at Elgin Community College.
Graduate Najmu Sahar knew she was not ready for a four-year college. She turned to ECC to start her college experience while she figured out her path. Read more about how ECC put her on the right path towards her goals.
Wendy Rivera never imagined graduating with high honors or going on to pursue a bachelor's degree. Read how ECC shaped her into who she is today.
Robert Phelan returned to school after seven years to move his education forward. Read more about how ECC helped him develop the confidence to pursue his dreams.
In high school, Danielle Lauritzen was lucky enough to know what she intended to make of her life. At ECC, she was able to grow and come to understand her place in this world through the work she had a passion for - teaching.
Experiencing culture shock and learning English as an immigrant moving from Guatemala at age 14 significantly impacted Lisbeth Castillo's life. Read about her how ECC opened doors to her brighter future.
During the introduction to Education course at Elgin Community College, I finally realized that what I wanted was to teach middle school.
I was able to transition from high school to college in a fun, friendly, and engaging environment that allowed me to work towards my associate degree whilst giving me time to figure out and explore what I wanted to do with my life. I cannot recommend ECC enough to prospective students, and can personally attest to ECC being a bright choice for a bright future.