NORWALK – For the third consecutive year, Cerritos College honored its largest graduating class in the campus’ history.
During its 60th annual commencement ceremony held May 19, nearly 3,500 students received degrees and certificates – an approximate increase of 1,000 graduates from 2,496 in 2016, or 30 percent.
In 2017, the campus recorded its largest graduating class with 3,312 students, which the Class of 2018 surpassed by approximately 188 students.
The college also saw a 15 percent increase in awards to students who earned an Associate Degree for Transfer (AA-T/AS-T) from 2017 to 2018 with 1,041 degrees awarded. The AA-T/AS-T degree guarantees admission for eligible students to transfer to the California State University system.
To date, nearly 3,000 students have earned the AA-T/AS-T degrees since the College first conferred the Associate Degrees for Transfer in 2012. The College currently has 27 AA-T/AS-T degree programs.
Paralympic hand cyclist and triathlete Oz Sanchez served as the commencement speaker. Oz shared his story of overcoming a near-fatal motorcycle injury and paralysis to become a successful athlete and Paralympian. He inspired the graduates to find a purpose in life and stay focused on their goals.
Students who graduated will be transitioning to some of the nation’s top colleges and universities, including University of La Verne, Loyola Marymount University, USC, UC Berkeley, UCLA, among other schools.
Graduate Kristine Crable found her calling at Cerritos College. When she first enrolled in 2005, she was not completely ready to focus on school, so she took time off.
Kristine returned to the college in 2013 – this time, not only as a student, but also as a peer mentor for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) Services in the Disabled Student Programs and Services department.
“The experience brought me joy in having the opportunity to help others. It changed my life. I became more motivated and was able to encourage other students not to give up,” she said.
Kristine thanks her DHH Specialist Dahlene Holliness for inspiring her to finish her goals. She will pursue a bachelor’s in sociology, and a master’s degree in social work at California State University, Long Beach where she plans to become a counselor for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community.
“With three consecutive years of having more graduates walk the stage, I am very proud of our students for their hard work and perseverance,” said Dr. Jose Fierro, Cerritos College President/ Superintendent.
“Our students face tremendous obstacles every day, so having another increase in graduation rates is especially hopeful. There is no doubt that the success of our students is a true testament to the commitment and dedication of our faculty and staff.
“Our faculty take a personal interest in each and every student, making sure they have the right resources and motivation to be successful.
“We want to see this trend of increased graduation numbers happen every year, so we will continue to work hard to support student success.”