‘You came, and you conquered’: Students reach goal with graduation | The Wilson Times
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WILSON COMMUNITY COLLEGE

‘You came, and you conquered’: Students reach goal with graduation

Posted on May 21, 2022

Updated on May 23, 2022

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Wilson Community College President Tim Wright welcomes students and their families to Friday’s commencement ceremony held in Fike High School's auditorium.

Olivia Neeley | Times

Wilson Community College President Tim Wright welcomes students and their families to Friday’s commencement ceremony held in Fike High School's auditorium.

Corvair Batts, 60, was the oldest Wilson Community College student to graduate Friday. Batts longed to finish her associate degree in early childhood education, and she made that happen after enrolling in the program two years ago after her mother died. Batts was recognized during the commencement ceremony held in the Fike High School auditorium.

Olivia Neeley | Times

Corvair Batts, 60, was the oldest Wilson Community College student to graduate Friday. Batts longed to finish her associate degree in early childhood education, and she made that happen after enrolling in the program two years ago after her mother died. Batts was recognized during the commencement ceremony held in the Fike High School auditorium.

Wilson Community College graduate Corvair Batts, 60, and WCC early childhood instructor Lori Coburn, left, celebrate before Friday's commencement.

Olivia Neeley | Times

Wilson Community College graduate Corvair Batts, 60, and WCC early childhood instructor Lori Coburn, left, celebrate before Friday's commencement.

Wilson Community College students prepare to graduate. Friday's commencement ceremony was held inside Fike High School’s auditorium.

Olivia Neeley | Times

Wilson Community College students prepare to graduate. Friday's commencement ceremony was held inside Fike High School’s auditorium.

Wilson Community College's May graduation was in May at Fike High School.

Olivia Neeley | Times

Wilson Community College's May graduation was in May at Fike High School.

Rhonda Nixon, vice chairwoman of the Wilson Community College Foundation Board of Directors, delivers WCC’s commencement speech on Friday.

Olivia Neeley | Times

Rhonda Nixon, vice chairwoman of the Wilson Community College Foundation Board of Directors, delivers WCC’s commencement speech on Friday.

Wilson Community College President Tim Wright welcomes students and their families to Friday’s commencement ceremony held in Fike High School's auditorium.

Olivia Neeley | Times

Wilson Community College President Tim Wright welcomes students and their families to Friday’s commencement ceremony held in Fike High School's auditorium.

Corvair Batts, 60, was the oldest Wilson Community College student to graduate Friday. Batts longed to finish her associate degree in early childhood education, and she made that happen after enrolling in the program two years ago after her mother died. Batts was recognized during the commencement ceremony held in the Fike High School auditorium.

Olivia Neeley | Times

Corvair Batts, 60, was the oldest Wilson Community College student to graduate Friday. Batts longed to finish her associate degree in early childhood education, and she made that happen after enrolling in the program two years ago after her mother died. Batts was recognized during the commencement ceremony held in the Fike High School auditorium.

Corvair Batts, 60, was the oldest Wilson Community College student to graduate Friday. Batts longed to finish her associate degree in early childhood education, and she made that happen after enrolling in the program two years ago after her mother died. Batts was recognized during the commencement ceremony held in the Fike High School auditorium.
Wilson Community College graduate Corvair Batts, 60, and WCC early childhood instructor Lori Coburn, left, celebrate before Friday's commencement.
Wilson Community College students prepare to graduate. Friday's commencement ceremony was held inside Fike High School’s auditorium.
Wilson Community College's May graduation was in May at Fike High School.
Rhonda Nixon, vice chairwoman of the Wilson Community College Foundation Board of Directors, delivers WCC’s commencement speech on Friday.
Wilson Community College President Tim Wright welcomes students and their families to Friday’s commencement ceremony held in Fike High School's auditorium.

olivia@wilsontimes.com | 252-265-7879

Corvair Batts worked on her associate degree in early childhood education in the late ’90s, but she didn’t finish it. More than two decades later, Batts celebrated a milestone at age 60.

“It’s never too late to go back to school and college,” Batts said. “When you put your mind to it and stay focused … you’re going to do it.”

Batts was one of nearly 300 Wilson Community College graduates recognized Friday. The commencement ceremony, held at Fike High School’s auditorium, was the first traditional graduation the college has held since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020.

Batts said several years ago, her mother told her to go back and finish her degree.

“When she passed away two years ago, I enrolled that fall semester,” she said.

Batts felt like her mother was looking down on her during WCC’s commencement. While Batts doesn’t know what she’s going to do just yet, she hopes her story is an inspiration for others.

“I feel like I accomplished something more than money,” Batts said.

She was the oldest student to graduate on Friday.

A FOREVER LEARNER

Hundreds of family members and friends joined in Friday’s celebration. WCC President Tim Wright rallied the crowd for cheers to get the ceremony started.

“You came, and you conquered,” said commencement speaker Rhonda Nixon, vice chairwoman of the Wilson Community College Foundation Board of Directors. “Not only did you conquer, but you conquered during a pandemic.”

Nixon is a Wilson community leader, domestic violence survivor, risk support specialist at Truist and a certified life coach. She also serves on the board of directors for the United Way of Wilson.

She gave words of encouragement as students “travel along on this journey of success.”

Nixon told graduates it’s important to not only mentor others, but for them to find a mentor themselves.

“A mentor is vital in your next continued success,” she said. “Place yourself in a position to forever be a learner while staying true to your authentic self. ...”

“If you’re the smartest person in your circle, your circle is too small,” she continued. “You want to hang out with people who challenge you, but yet empower you.”

She also encouraged graduates to volunteer and give back to their community.

MOTHER-DAUGHTER DUO

Friday was special for Carla and Daijere Damphie. The mother-daughter duo graduated together.

Carla said after her 21-year-old daughter, Daijere, graduated from high school, they relocated to North Carolina.

“This was the school she decided to go to, and I decided that I was going to go with her,” said the 45-year-old, who majored in non-teaching early children education.

Daijere said it was fun going to school together.

“She always asked me, ‘Did you do your homework?’” Daijere recalled. “Then I would say, ‘Did you do your homework?’”

Daijere, who majored in paralegal technology, said she’s glad she and her mother could celebrate the achievement together.

“It was a long, hard road,” she said about school, “but I’m happy.”

And the two don’t plan to stop. They plan to enroll at Fayetteville State University.

“The legacy continues,” Daijere said with a laugh.

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