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CVTC Graduation: Speakers Discuss Life, Fears, and How They Beat the Odds

​CVTC graduation was held on Friday, May 13, at Zorn Arena on UWEC’s campus.


Not only did speakers talk about the opportunities given to CVTC grads, but also talked about the challenges they faced getting to this point, and how to make the most of their future.


Hailey Craig, a Surgical Technician graduate and the student speaker, spoke with a distinct message. “We have certainly encountered many different obstacles, frustrations and disappointments, but what is important to remember is that we didn’t give up.”


Craig spoke from experience. Being a five-year cancer survivor gave her a different direction in life, and that is what led her to CVTC and the Surgical Technician program.


Charlie Grossklaus, CEO of RCU and the keynote speaker for the evening, encouraged students to truly live every day. He reminded graduates that life was about family, friends, health, spirit, faith and career, purposely putting career at the end. He also encouraged all the students to become good citizens. “Give back to your communities whether it is in the form of volunteering your time or giving monetarily or both. Our communities thrive because of people like you.”


Debbie Schumacher, CVTC instructor with the Dental Hygiene program and the faculty speaker for graduation, reminisced about being asked to give the faculty speech. Her first reaction was to say no because she was too afraid. Then she thought about how her students must feel the first day of class. They were probably just as afraid, but they still came and succeeded. “You inspired me because you conquered your fears to make it to this point.” She concluded by encouraging graduates to “chase away your fears and believe in yourself. Your success here at CVTC is the foundation proving that you can do anything you put your heart and mind to.”


One of those students who put her fears behind her is Heather Hilton, a Marketing Management graduate living in Elk Mound. “I worked in sales for many years, but wanted something more,” Hilton comments. She chose CVTC for its small class sizes, the value of the education and the strong reputation. “I had been out of school for a little while, and the instructors were there for me all along the way. They are all so supportive and wanted to see me succeed.”  


By the end of the evening, graduates may have ended their journey at CVTC, but as President Bruce Barker told the graduates, “It’s time to write the next chapter in your life. Believe in yourself and you’ll go far.”