EdCC celebrates 50th annual commencement ceremony June 9

Jun 08, 2017
Courtesy of: Edmonds CC Naji Ali and Barbara Wulff are Edmonds CC's commencement speakers for 2017.

Edmonds Community College will celebrate its 50th annual commencement ceremony at 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 9, at XFINITY Arena in Everett.

"We honor and applaud the hard work, talent, and persistence of our graduates as they begin to realize their unlimited potential," EdCC President Jean Hernandez said. "This achievement is a milestone on the path of their journey of lifelong learning. We know that this is only the beginning for our graduates and anticipate that their success will blaze a trail for future Edmonds CC students."

In 2016-17, Edmonds CC awarded 1,843 degrees, certificates, diplomas, and GEDs. The youngest graduate is 17, and the oldest is 70.

This year’s student commencement speakers are Naji Ali, 23, and Barbara Wulff, 42.

When Ali immigrated to the U.S. from Syria in 2013, he and his family had only $600 between the six of them – his father, mother, brothers, and sister. It was a long journey for 19-year-old Ali, a Syrian-born Palestinian refugee. He left his lifelong home in Syria and headed to a country vastly different from his own.

When a Syrian army airstrike took place close to Ali’s home in 2013, his family decided it was time to leave Syria and come to the U.S. It was a difficult process, but all of his family members finally made it to Lynnwood, Wash. Ali arrived in the U.S. knowing only basic conversational English.

He knew right away that he would need to learn English, and started taking English as A Second Language classes at EdCC.

Ali’s advice to the graduating class: “Work harder than anybody else around you. If you have ambition, nothing will stop you. Your dream will break all the walls. Know who you are, and don’t apologize for it.”

Wulff has always had a passion for learning, and believes education has the power to transform lives. She began her college journey as a senior in high school in 1993 through the Running Start program, which allows high school juniors and seniors to take college-level courses without paying tuition, and was the first student from her district to do so.

At 42, Wulff will be graduating with her Associate of Technical Arts in Business Management and a Project Management certificate. Wulff said the classes she has taken and connections she’s made have already enriched her life, and she’s excited to see how her degree will enhance her future career opportunities.

Wulff’s advice to the graduating class, “Seek out new perspectives, experiences, and ways of thinking. Increase your awareness of how you talk to yourself and how you listen to the world around you. Slow down, be present to the moments that make up your life, and surround yourself with people who challenge and inspire you.”


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