For soon-to-be graduates, decorating the mortar board of their graduation cap is an exciting rite of passage that means commencement is near.
Equipped with a lot of glitter, paint, markers and bright ideas, Tyler Junior College students gathered in Vaughn Library on Tuesday night to adorn their graduation caps in preparation for next Friday’s ceremony.
Marcus McGowen, of Houston, focused the theme of his cap on where he’s going next.
“I plan to transfer to UT Tyler next semester to study social work,” he said as he added block letters to his cap.
McGowen said he initially came to TJC to study graphic design, but his plans changed.
“I changed my major three times, but then I joined TRIO and took an evaluation that showed me that my best fit was social work,” he said. “TJC was a fun experience. I met a lot of new people and enjoyed every second of it.”
At a nearby table, a gaggle of happy vocational nursing graduates scrolled through design options on their phones.
Kourtni Adair, of Whitehouse, said she was inspired to be a nurse because she was once a heart patient.
“I went through something where I wanted to give up,” she said. “I was in the hospital after I coded, and it was a nurse who pushed me to go forward, get better and receive the care that I needed.”
For her cap design, Adair chose a silhouette of a girl with her hands in prayer.
“The only way I can describe how I feel is ‘Hallelujah,’” she said as she put her hands in the air. “This has been a long time coming. There have been a lot of laughs and a lot of tears. I’m excited to be able to go into a field where I know I’ll be helping someone. I’ve always been in service, and I chose the nursing profession so I could serve people.”
She added, “The praying hands represent grace because that’s exactly how I made it — through a lot of prayer.”
TJC Graduation Week details
On Thursday, Dec. 16, TJC will host a “victory lap” drive-through celebration for the December 2021 graduating class.
The graduates, in their cars, will gather before noon in the parking lot at the corner of E. Devine Street and S. Mahon Avenue. The route will begin on E. Devine and take an immediate right on Mahon, turning right on Lake Street and left on Baxter Avenue.
TJC faculty, staff, family and friends will line the streets and cheer for the graduates.
The public is invited to attend.
On Friday, Dec. 17, TJC will host multiple commencement ceremonies in Wagstaff Gymnasium on the TJC main campus at the following times:
• 9 a.m. — School of Humanities, Communications & Fine Arts
• 11 a.m. — School of Engineering, Mathematics & Sciences
• 1 p.m. — School of Professional & Technical Programs
• 3 p.m. — School of Nursing & Health Sciences
The ceremonies will be broadcast live on the TJC Facebook page and at TJC.edu/Graduation.