Newark, Ohio, December 22, 2015 — Commencement means the beginning. For most college students this is the start of a new job or the pursuit of a higher degree, but for two Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) graduates it also means a trip down memory lane and the revival of an old friendship.
Amy Righter and Tracey Young graduated from Sheridan High School in 1985. They lived a mile apart in Mount Perry, a small town where Righter says everyone knows each other. They had since gone their separate ways, but through a chance encounter on Facebook realized they were about to graduate together yet again.
“After working for 30 years, I had gotten almost to management and then realized there was a glass ceiling. They needed that degree on the wall,” said Young. “I got frustrated and said, ‘you know what, here is a challenge I’m going to defeat.’”
Young officially conquered the challenge when she received her associate degree in business management technology on Friday, December 18, in a ceremony with 185 other graduates.
Righter, who graduated with honors, received an associate degree in human services. She plans to use her education – and personal experience as a recovering addict – as a chemical dependency counselor with troubled youth.
“Ever since I became sober, I’ve had the desire to help other people,” she said. “COTC had exactly what I was looking for.”
Both Righter and Young plan to continue their education in bachelor’s degree programs, but for now they are celebrating their accomplishments.
“It’s unbelievable. I didn’t think I could do it,” said Young. “With the encouragement of my fiancé and my family’s support, I made it. I have another challenge ahead of me. With this under my belt, I feel like I can do it.”
Central Ohio Technical College is a fully accredited, public college dedicated to providing high-quality, accessible programs of technical education in response to current and emerging employment needs, as well as encouraging the professional development of students, staff, faculty and administrators to assist them in achieving their maximum potential. COTC is the only technical college in Ohio operating four full-service campus locations: Newark, Coshocton, Knox and Pataskala.