Northland Pioneer College is honoring its 46th graduating class in a virtual format this spring, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing. A weeklong virtual celebration honoring NPC’s 2020 graduating class will be held May 23 through May 29 on the college’s Facebook and Instagram channels. For more information visit www.npc.edu/2020-commencement and join the group at http://tiny.cc/npcgrad2020. Students, friends and family, NPC faculty and staff and the community at large are invited to celebrate by posting comments and cheers to NPC’s graduates of 2020.

This year 747 students have applied for 841 associate degrees, certificates of applied science and certificates of proficiency. Seventy-six students are graduating with transfer degrees. Among the graduates are five students receiving Associate of Business degrees, 13 earning Associate of General Studies degrees, 118 receiving Associate of Applied Science degrees, 58 earning Associate of Arts degrees and 500 gaining Certificates of Proficiency. Actual degrees and certificates will be conferred upon verification of final grades and credits.

Four outstanding graduates are being recognized for their top grade-point averages and overall scholastic achievement. Samantha Lynn Roberts, of Show Low, is the top Associate of Arts graduate. Floy “Shaw” Michaela Carr, of Winslow, is the top Cosmetology graduate. Jackson Lee Tregaskes, of Show Low, is tops among the Associate of Science graduates. Jeffrey Scott Hamilton, of Overgaard, is the honored Business graduate.

A member of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) and the 2020 All-Arizona Academic Team, Roberts says she’s gained inspiration from the late singer Ella Fitzgerald, along with NPC instructors Ryan Jones and Andrew Hassard. Fitzgerald once said, “Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.” Hassard and Jones “were always helpful to me, and they are willing to do more than just teach their students,” Roberts said Roberts is planning to transfer to Northern Arizona University (NAU) to major in psychology. Upon earning a bachelor’s degree, she intends to go on to law school to prepare for a career in marriage and family law. “I’d like to focus on child advocacy. I want to make sure that children get the voice they deserve when it comes to matters of family law. I want to pursue psychology first so that I can fully understand what these children need,” she says.

Carr has experienced amazing life events in each of her two years at NPC. Last year, she won the SkillsUSA state championship in cosmetology competition and then finished eighth in the national competition in Louisville. The trip to Kentucky marked the first time she had flown in a plane and the first time she’d traveled outside of Arizona. This year, she’s been balancing her studies with pregnancy; her son is due to be born in late May.

The Honors Graduate award “means the world to me,” Carr says. “To accomplish something I didn’t think I could do encourages me to set higher goals. SkillsUSA competition was challenging, and it pushed me to my limits. My biggest challenge this year has been to juggle school and the pregnancy of my first child.”

The success Carr has enjoyed in cosmetology is a reflection of her favorite quote. Alfred Mercier, a 19th century physician and writer, said, “What we learn with pleasure we never forget.”

A member of PTK, Carr Shaw will take a couple more classes at NPC and then transfer to NAU to major in chemistry.

Hamilton is shooting high in his career, very high. He’s been inspired by the late Norman Vincent Peale, a pastor known for his books on positive thinking. “Peale said, ‘Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.’ “

Preparing to transfer to NAU this fall, Hamilton will major in accounting and pursue that field as his career choice.

“I wasn’t actually trying for the Honors Graduate award, but winning it surprised me and made me very happy,” Hamilton said.

Tregaskes, also a PTK member, has completed his studies at NPC and the next stop for him is in Tanzania, where he will serve a two-year religious mission. Following that time, he’ll move on to the University of Louisiana, Lafayette to major in engineering.

“I’ve always appreciated how the Northland Pioneer College faculty became familiar with and supportive of my endeavors,” Tregaskes says. “They’re very nice and helpful, and I’ve had a lot of good instructors.”

Winning the Honors Graduate award brought “a nice feeling of pride that my hard work paid off,” Tregaskes says. “I’ve always lived by the standard of doing my best and being happy with whatever results.”

This academic standout’s favorite quote comes from Mother Theresa, who said: “Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.”

Northland Pioneer College serves the residents of Navajo and Apache counties through four regional campuses and five centers with a variety of educational options for academic, career and technical and personal enrichment. NPC supports each student’s educational goals through affordable tuition, small class sizes and caring, professional instructors. For more information about NPC programs and services, visit www.npc.edu or call 800-266-7845.

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