Giannoulias Inspires Graduates at PSC Commencement Ceremony


Prairie State College graduates receiving an award at commencement were: Justin Doup, Ivy Green, Lisa Jackson, and Blanca Martinez. (PHOTO SUPPLIED)

Chicago Heights, IL–(ENEWSPF)– Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias encouraged the graduates of Prairie State College (PSC) to focus on the values of hope, opportunity, compassion, and courage to guide them in the future. Giannoulias was the guest speaker at the college’s 50th annual commencement held on May 16.

“The courage and strength you possess is a trademark of the American spirit,” said Giannoulias. “At PSC you learned how to live and overcome obstacles. If you exhibit a glimmer of the strength, opportunity, and courage that you had while you were at PSC, the best is ahead for our nation and in your future.”

To inspire the graduates, Giannoulias told the stories of several PSC students including Favian Apata, of Chicago Heights; Sikod Njem, of Steger; Keith Burke, of Westville; Guiherme Nunes, of Flossmoor; and Camiella Williams, of Flossmoor. He met with the students in April and was inspired by their personal life stories. The students’ backgrounds ranged from Apata, a returning adult student who started her educational journey when she enrolled in the college’s GED program, to Njem who dreams of being a doctor in his native country of Cameroon by beginning his education at PSC.

“The bravery exhibited by these individuals is laudable by the qualities they possess,” said Giannoulias.

Nearly 500 students graduated from the PSC and earned associate degrees and certificates. Nearly 275 students participated in the ceremony.

Also during the ceremony, Ivy Green, of Steger; Lisa Jackson, of Chicago Heights; and Blanca Martinez, of Chicago Heights, received the President’s Leadership Award. This annual award is given to one or more graduates who have maintained a high academic standing while demonstrating significant leadership contributions to the college.

Justin Doup, of Beecher, received recognition as a member of the Phi Theta Kappa All-Illinois Academic Team for possessing the four hallmarks of the international honor society for community college students: scholarship, leadership, service, and fellowship.

“We congratulate all of our graduates for the hard work and determination and those little learning moments that brought them to this point,” said Eric C. Radtke, college president.