Over 650 students are now proud to say they are Chippewa Valley Technical College alumni. CVTC graduation was held on Friday, May 11, at Zorn Arena on UWEC’s campus. Not only did speakers talk about where the students came from, but what the future may hold as well. And with humor and making the right choice, everyone knew the graduates would succeed.
CVTC President Bruce Barker reflected on CVTC‘s past to see what the future might hold for the graduates. He described 1912, the year CVTC opened, as a fast-paced, highly technical time. The use of electricity was growing and many people were moving from horse-drawn carriages to vehicles like the Model T. “This new technology was creating the need for more educated employees,” stated Barker. This is what started CVTC and the technical college system in Wisconsin.
“CVTC has been, and continues to be a great source to receive your education. It has 100 years of proven success. You should feel proud to be a part of our history, as you look toward the future.”
Wendy Stelter, Chippewa Falls Police Chief and CVTC Criminal Justice alum, encouraged the students to work hard, be true to themselves, build and maintain relationships, be compassionate, and have a good time while doing it all. “Be true in all that you do.”
But amongst the seriousness of the occasion, she also encouraged the graduates to find humor every day. Stelter stated that as she began to think about writing her speech, she reflected back to what she learned from the many commencement speeches she had heard over the years. “But I don’t remember a darn thing,” she proclaimed. “So if our paths ever cross again, and I’m wearing my uniform and you can’t remember one thing about this commencement speech…OMG!”
Dr. John Frank, instructor with the CVTC Center for Behavioral Science and Civic Effectiveness and co-chair of the Liberal Arts program, brought his eloquent style to graduation as he encouraged the students to make the right choices in life. By quoting a diverse group of people, including Yogi Berra, Leann Womack, and Robert Frost, he inspired the students to make the choice that empowers them and the others around them. “It may sound overwhelming, but I know you can do this because you’ve already made the right choice to come to CVTC .”
BreAnna Lato, 2008 Chippewa Falls High School grad, reflected on all she learned during her time at CVTC. “It’s been a great experience. Everything I did was so hands-on.” She was able to create a new event, implement a marketing plan for The Junction in Elk Mound, and did marketing for Autumn Harvest Winery as an intern. Lato, daughter of Pete and Jean, also appreciated being close to family and the affordability. “Now it’s time to look for a job!”
Amanda Falch, a Dental Hygiene graduate and student speaker, said it best as she reflected on the past and looked toward the future. “This ceremony is all that lies between us and the future; a future of infinite possibilities.”