Butte College's Class of 2017 finishes the job

Butte Valley >> The oldest was 72; the youngest 16. In between were more than 1,200 students who became graduates during Butte College’s 48th commencement ceremonies this year.

Roughly 400 participated in the ceremony on Friday at the main campus, a record number according to Butte President Samia Yaqub, who seemed as overjoyed as the graduates.

There were many reasons to be overjoyed, not the least of which was a healthy breeze that kept the May sunset in check.

Joy certainly was evident in the words of class speaker and Chico native Julissa Quintero-Leal, who told of her hard-working parents toiling at a taco truck, then gaining a restaurant business. Their endless laboring was reflected in Quintero-Leal’s remembrance of her mother’s legs and hands always hurting. Hearing that, she was determined to gain the college degree, the first in her family.

She told the audience that filled the bleachers and flowed onto the grass, “We get the opportunity to walk the stage as a reward for all our hard work.”

It wasn’t easy for Quintero-Leal, who second-guessed her ability. But urged on by her parents, her teachers and friends, the accomplishment was hers.

“Always believe in yourself,” she told classmates.

“We did it, class of 2017!”

Taking the stage, Yaqub said, “Julissa embodies the Butte College spirit. Like many of you, she was a first generation student and didn’t know what to expect.

“Like many of you, she found the strength and determination to…

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