A fifth of Western Nevada College’s graduating class of more than 500 consisted of Douglas County residents.
Anne Hansen, spokeswoman for the college, said this year’s class is the largest in school history — for the third consecutive year — and one of the most dedicated.
“The students we have are all serious students,” she said. “That’s what we need for the work force. It’s good for them personally and good for the economy.”
College President Carol Lucey said 505 students graduated Monday and Tuesday from the Carson City and Fallon campuses, receiving 530 degrees and certificates.
“This event is the highlight of every academic year as we celebrate the accomplishments of every graduate,” she said in her address to students and guests.
For as long as she can remember, Dallas Angell has wanted to be a nurse; she even told her parents so when she was 5.
Her dream was realized Monday morning when she crossed the stage to receive her associate’s degree during the 42nd commencement ceremony of Western Nevada College.
“There’s just nothing else I’ve ever even considered” as a career, said Angell, 27.
Growing up in Silver Springs, she wasn’t sure how she would accomplish her goal, but a field trip to Western Nevada College in Carson City while a sophomore in high school showed her the possibilities.
“I liked it,” she said. “It was affordable and gets you started on your career. The counselors are all super-helpful.”
She will put her new skills to use at the South Lyon Medical Center in Yerington, where she was recently hired.
Julia Botelho, 40, also achieved what she had before believed to be impossible.
“It’s huge for me,” she said. “I’m the first one in my family to graduate from college.”
Although later in life, it was important for her to get her degree “to better myself and better my family,” she said.
Botelho said that as a wife and mother of two stepsons and a daughter, she wanted to set an example.
“I wanted to be an inspiration for my daughter,” she said. “She loves school, and I want her to continue to do what she’s done.”
Botelho has a nursing job lined up at Renown Medical Center and plans to pursue her bachelor’s degree at the University of Nevada, Reno.
Frank Perez, 20, said for him and his fellow Latino students, it was more than a personal success.
“A lot of our parents migrated to America ... Some of them didn’t even have a high school diploma,” he said. “We’re changing our fortune. When we have our own children, we’ll send them to college.”