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Saturday marks a milestone for 27 people this year. Twenty-seven is the number of people who earn degrees to be awarded by the University of Alaska Southeast Ketchikan campus that afternoon at the Ted Ferry Civic Center.
But far more than 27 people will celebrate their success. So much goes into the earning of a degree. First, of course, the recipients did the yeoman’s work.
Each of them knows they couldn’t have done it alone, though. Families support them when everyone pitches in on dinner the night student Mom has class, when Grandma watches the kids if student Dad needs to crack the books. Ketchikan’s “traditional” student is nontraditional and might as easily be Grandma as a first-year-out-of-high-school teen.
There is a place for all of them at UAS Ketchikan. On Saturday, they have accomplished something they set out to do, something that at times, in the dark of night when it looked as if the end would never come, they might have doubted they could. It is significant to set such a goal and to meet it.
Along the way to meeting that goal, they met new people and got a lot of help. Teachers and staff at the university do more for students than anyone who has not experienced it would imagine. Classmates, too, play a crucial role in learning.
Degrees and certificates in hand, all of Saturday’s graduates will meet the world better prepared, from the bestowing of a master’s degree to bachelor’s, to associate’s degrees, to certificates in fish culture and fisheries management.
They will put those degrees to work and, we hope, they will help those who follow them at the university.
That’s all future, and future is usually what education is all about.
But Saturday, it’s time to celebrate. Congratulations, graduates. As we might have said before we got some schoolin’, you done real good.