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TJC celebrates Fall 2021 graduates

Tyler Junior College has recognized nearly 700 graduates earning 760 awards — including 28 bachelor’s degrees — for the Fall 2021 semester.

TJC President Dr. Juan E. Mejia conferred the degrees on the graduates during four commencement ceremonies held Friday in Wagstaff Gymnasium.

Nina Ballard of Tyler walked the stage to receive her third degree from TJC, a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration.

Nina Ballard

Nina Ballard

“Once upon a time, I wanted to go into some kind of healthcare career,” she said, “but I got married young and had children and then sent them to school.”

She earned her first degree from TJC as a paralegal but soon decided to push herself further and got a job at a hospital in medical records.

“I became a manager at a local oncology clinic, and my manager told me I had to get a certification; so, I came back to TJC and got my Registered Healthcare Information Technology certificate for my job,” she said.

She’s worked at UT Health East Texas HOPE Cancer Center for 24 years, but she said, “I decided I wanted to know more — and at age 58, I’m here getting my degree.”

She continued, “I can honestly say that I would not have wanted to go anywhere else. The instructors have all worked in my field, and they’re mostly my age, so they were compassionate about my full-time job.”

Ballard concluded, “There’s nowhere else you need to send your students if they’re in this area and if you want them to get a quality education for a reasonable price,” she said. “I was able to pay cash to come back and earn my bachelor’s degree.”

Mother-daughter team Taneisha and Kiara Hunter earned their degrees from the TJC Radiologic Technology program.

Kiara and Taneisha Hunter

Kiara (left) and Taneisha Hunter

Taneisha works at UT Health East Texas in Jacksonville and Kiara started her job on Monday at Christus Trinity Mother Frances Orthopedics in Tyler.

“The program was super challenging,” Taneisha said. “I graduated from high school in 1998, so 20 years of no school caught up with me really fast. However, it became a challenge to make a higher grade than my daughter. We would compete each time, and it didn’t happen often, but when I got a higher grade than her, I’d rub it in a little. Honestly, there’s no way I could’ve done it without her pushing me each week to do great. Also, one of my favorite teachers in the program, Trina Travis, would always motivate me and I really love and appreciate her for that. She’s the best ever.”

Clarence Shackelford worked as a photographer at Friday morning’s UT Tyler commencement before attending his own TJC graduation later that afternoon.

Clarence Shackelford

Clarence Shackelford

Shackelford earned a certificate in graphic design.

He is also a veteran of the U.S. military and currently a full-time volunteer and founder of the Texas African American Museum, founder of the Empowerment Community Development Corporation and founder of Tour Tyler Texas, which he said brings people to the city of Tyler to shop and help the economy.

“For the last 35 years, I’ve done graphics, television and radio broadcasting and photography,” he said. “I’m a retiree from UT Tyler and the state of Texas as a photographer. I was out of school for 41 years before I started on this TJC program. It’s been a blessing.”

Mejia family

TJC President Dr. Juan E. Mejia (far left) and his wife Meela Mejia (far right) pose for a photo with twin sons and TJC graduates, Juan and Alex Mejia (center left and right).

Graduation is always a meaningful day for President Mejia, but maybe more so on this day since he presented diplomas to his twin sons, Alex and Juan.

"I am honored to serve as president of our world-class institution, and today I am also here as a proud parent of graduates,” Mejia said. “These were my fourth sons to present with college diplomas as I was privileged to present them to my older sons, Eddie and Jonathan, when I was at South Texas College, and today to the twins. TJC is a great place for all of our students because it creates opportunities for success.”

TJC Fall 2021 graduates and their hometowns
ALBA: Kelly Ortega, Jessica Palacios and Alicia Paredes
ALLEN: Jacala Callicutt and Jazreyn Stinson
ARLINGTON: Andrea Alston, Reagan Goodwin and Deterian Johnson
ARP: Brandy Russell, Crystal Sheeks and Brittany Smith
ATHENS: Geovanni Castaneda
AUBREY: Nala Hemingway
BALCH SPRINGS: Thaddaeus Mitchell
BAYONNE, N.J.: Azhaun Dingle
BECKVILLE: Kimber Wesner
BEDFORD: Adrian Gonzales
BELTON: Beatrice White
BEN WHEELER: Sierra Boudreaux, Kimberly Ford, Kyla Jones, Josie Petree, Krizia Price, Peggy Salazar and Bradey Shackelford
BIG SANDY: Ashton Beason and Elda Grogan
BIG SPRING: Jeremiah Cooley
BOGATA: Baylor Augustus
BROWNSBORO: Lorena Alvarado and Anna Read
BULLARD: Lauri Bowen, Sadie Capps, Lauren Christian, Samuel Cobb, Zitlaly Derramadero, Delaney Folmar, Analei Herman, Jamie Hernandez, Sau-Sha Hill, Maryon Houghtaling, Caroline Lee, Jeongmin Lee, Angela Lewis, Mariah Melton, Charles Moore, Lance Ritter, Yesenia Santillan, Shelby Spradlin Kamryn Stephens, Linden Willingham and
Jenna Wittmann
CANTON: Gracie Brewer, Breana Carrico, Yessenia Dragustinovis, Gwendolyn Rockey, Stephanie Taylor and Samuel Vogt
CARROLLTON: McCrae Wiest
CARTHAGE: Ja’Lesia Robinson
CASTOR, Louisiana: Randall Bradley
CENTER: Christopher Byndom
CHANDLER: Gerald Allbritton, Brandon DeZavala, Jennifer Lacour, Jodi McLouth, Megan Riley, Brittani Smith and Caitlyn Walker
COPPERAS COVE: Jayren Key
CORINTH: Eva Mejia
CORPUS CHRISTI: Margo Fritz and Madison Hale
CUSHING: Miranda Conn and Douglas Pierce
DALLAS: Jacquese Day, Heidi Dorn and Katelyn Sullivanne
DEER PARK: Nineth Garza
DIANA: Morgan Woods
DIBOLL: Edgar Hernandez
DIKE: Cierra Johnson
DUNCANVILLE: Miles Robinson
ELKHART: Taylor Clark and Jessica Musick
EMORY: Kinsey Mills
EVANSVILLE, Indiana: Austin Holmes
FATE: Garrett Fisher
FLINT: Kaitlyn Campbell, Jonathan Crissey, Amanda Donovan, Brodrick Evans, Kristina Harrison Powell, Aristotle Montgomery, Kristian Oldham, Meghan Roberts, Akyea Sheffie, Katelyn Stiles, Deborah Wallace and Isabella Willoughby
FORNEY: Alma Arriaga and Ja’Neicia Cain
FORT COLLINS, Colorado: Breanna Barr-Shearin
FORT WORTH: Jessica Jensen, Grant Owens and Mason Thompson
FRANKSTON: Caroline Billingsley, Zandra Brauher, Christian Culland, Cheryl Hahn, Lizbeth Hernandez, Bobby Mata and Spencer Tillery
FREDERICK, Maryland: Antonio Wherry
FRISCO: Dalton Davis
FRUITVALE: Christopher Weisinger
GARDEN RIDGE: Sheldon Benson
GARLAND: Ethan Barnes, Jade Giles, Robert Hines and Anh Nguyen
GILMER: Shelby Allen, Nickolas Bartlett, Dean Haws, Aly Huffhines, Makenzie Kitchell, Robyn Morris, Natalie Salaises, Sierra Starnes, A Lillian Williams, Ashley Wilson and Shambree Wilson
GLADEWATER: Johnny Clark, Deloris Ellzey and Quinlan Martin
GLEN ROSE: Mackenzie Campos
GOLDEN: Darby Garrett
GRAND PRAIRIE: Jannaye Rose and Adrion Taylor
GRAND SALINE: Kennedy Kvapil, Manolo Landaverde, Doriane Morgan, Shelbie Teague and Morgan Truett
GRAPELAND: Penny Barber
GRAPEVINE: Mattie Stricklin
GREENFIELD, Missouri: Amber Carrigan
GREENVILLE: Erika Patterson
HALLSVILLE: Elizabeth Mitchell and Matthew York
HAWKINS: Francisco Barron, James Lynn, Candace Pope, Cortney Pope and Darlene Warren
HENDERSON: Marybel Castaneda, Leshon Holland, Allison Leadon, John Morales and Alayshia Pryor
HIDEAWAY: Christopher Lozito and Christopher Manning
HOLLY LAKE RANCH: Madison Wigington
HOUSTON: Rowry Bailey and Patricia Galvan
HUGHES SPRINGS: Malayah Everett
HUNTINGTON: Tyler Hearnsberger
HUNTSVILLE: Tatianna Merchant
HUTCHINS: Canesha Thomas
HUTTO: Caleb Forrest
INGLESIDE: Cindi Lamas
JACKSONVILLE: Quinntarrian Anthony, Faith Arellano, Briana Armstrong, Ashley Duncan, Mireya Gaitan, Anthony Hernandez, Charity Holder, Cecilia Kirby, Luis Lopez Dorado, Nancy Lucas, Melissa Mascorro, Traneena Mitchell, Samuel Monthie, Nohelia Munoz, Mckenzie Nabi, Ricardo Ortiz, Fatima Perez, Daisy Price, Isai Santamaria, Christian Sessions, Jeremy Singleton, Joe Traylor, Jacob Verhage-Arellano, Kristy Villalpando and Chase Warren
JASPER: Salma Segovia
KATY: Taylor Moore
KERENS: Alexis Harrell
KILGORE: Elian Arreola, Admony Bookout, Kaylee Bradley, Jada Carter, Mackenzie Chowdhury, Miranda Cook and Kieran Rider
LA GRANGE: Spencer Johnson
LANEVILLE: Melissa Ritter
LARUE: Marki Baker
LEESVILLE, Louisiana: Montae Lynch
LEWISVILLE: Matthew Sites
LINDALE: Armia Abdelshahid, Kathryn Anderson, Nina Ballard, Braden Berryman, Reece Calverley, Quade DeBord, Alexandria Dixon, Amy Gore, Christian Grana, Colton Gregory, Hannah Holt, Gregory Julian, Zabe Krause, Kimberly Lillich, Justin Little, Jaden Lynch, Sarah McKinney, Caleb Moore, Zayne Neely, Katie Rodriquez, Vivian Rogers, Deborah Stroud, Ethan Thornton, Daniel Vaughan, Adreana Villarreal, Ashley Warren, Andrea Willoughby, Abigail Willson and Celeste Young
LONGVIEW: Kayleigh Ammons, Kennedy Ballard, Soraya Cardenas, Kelsi Curtis, Gina Dominguez, Starla-Octavia Ferguson, Abigail Fobell, Emily Gaza, Tevin Haggerty, L’Tasho Hartfield, Dalton Heichelheim, Christopher Ingram, Taylor Jirik, Alexis Johnson, Zachary King, Shyanne Levoy, Jordan Malone, Barbara Manns, Laqueisha Miles, Lamya Nelson, Litzy Pascual, Fernanda Perez, Skyllar Richter, Ashley Robles, Gloria Rodriguez, Ja’Nysis Ross, Sarhai Serrano, Sangeeta Shrestha, April Smith, Heidy Soto, Signore Taylor, Kennedie Toliver, Britney Tucker, Monica Wiley and Samantha Willson
LUFKIN: Doris Davis, Kenyotta Elijah, Emily Hodges, Janiah Johnson, Duke Jordan and Reed Smith
MABANK: Tammy Johnson
MAGNOLIA: Micah Gun
MALAKOFF: Sean Mckenney
MANVEL: Marcus Mcgowen
MARSHALL: Ana Galvan, Bryttany Maxwell and Ilse Torres
McKINNEY: Chelsi Gallina and Malaysia Williams
MIDLOTHIAN: Genesis Baze, Caleb Duke, Dahjanae Roberts and Christie Williams
MINEOLA: Emily Burge, Lakeshia Calip, Lacy Culver, Edwin Dong, Alexis Johnson, Gavin Leeman, Luz Licona, Rubi Melgarejo, Nancy Palma, Cari Robinson, Chelsea Turney, Jared Tyndell and Grace Yancy
MOUNT PLEASANT: Cindy Cruz
MURCHISON: Layla Haase and Heather Miller
NACOGDOCHES: Chelcey Parr and Heather Wolf-Snider
NEW CANEY: Bailee Weaver
NORMAN, Oklahoma: Bryce Nail
NORTH AURORA, Illinois: Nicodem Rempert
NORTH RICHLAND HILLS: Samuel Hicks
NORTH ZULCH: Derald Young
ORE CITY: Melissa Ugalde
OVERTON: William Reavis
PALESTINE: Robyn Fort, Abbigail Furnish, Gerardo Garcia, Marina Powell, Jesus Rodriguez and Sergio Servin
PARIS: Chandi Helberg and Michelle Kollar
PEACHTREE CORNERS, Georgia: Sarah Bailey
PINELAND: Holly Taylor
PLANO: N’yatti Davis
QUITMAN: Makenzie Parker and Myia Riley
REKLAW: Amanda Downs
ROCKWALL: Kendrick Taylor
ROYSE CITY: Mellody Crawford, Jared Howell, Shelby Morgan and Delia Poor
RUSK: Diana Alcantara, Jessica Alcantara, Alexxi Blakemore, Kayla Brown, Karen Colby, Dawn Floyd, Haley Hancock, Henry Hernandez, Baylie Jones, Kailee Millsap, Krystal Quinn, Naomi Reifel, Kristen Scogin, Mia Skinner and Kayla Torres
SACHSE: Parker Hamilton
SCURRY: Arlette Contreras
SILSBEE: Kennedi Gilder
SPRING: Chase Swann
STONE MOUNTAIN, Georgia: Frederick Bridges
SULPHUR SPRINGS: Coy Matlock
TATUM: Tasha Cowan, Jennifer Pea and Jessica Roberts
TERRELL: Lori Bookman
TRINITY: Keili Munger
TROUP: Bryce Attaway, Catherine Barton, Brooke Brown, Leonard Cabe, Bailee Casteel, Timothy Harris, Amy Huckfeldt, Lauren Kelly, Natalie Neeley, Sierra Parnell, Tabatha Phillips, Sydney Saso and Tonya Wright
TYLER: Kourtni Adair, Jazmine Aguilar, Kayla Alejo, Kaylie Alexander, Yvette Alvarado, Melisa Amores Godinez, Steve Anderson, Lizette Angel, Axel Aparicio, Maria Araujo, Alexus Arbuckle, Carrie Arneson, Marcos Arnulfo, Josefa Artigas, Amanda Atwood, Busola Awosanya, Maggie Baldwin, Kali Ballek, Preslie Bass, Darlene Becerra, Glinda Benson, Xavier Benson, Angely Bernal, Eymy Betancourt, William Bowman, Brandi Browning, Lyndsey Brunt, Ra’Jala Buckner, Eliot Burk, Deijshaun Butts, Casey Cabaniss, Nestor Cardenas, Evelin Castillo, Santiago Castillo Solis, Tlaloc Castro, Ezra Chapman, Jaxon Charlebois, Alexa Chavez, Naiya Coleman-Olford, Justin Cooks, Mallory Copeland, Connor Craven, Shamar Cravens, Jisselle Crispin, Carmen Cruz, Jamal Cuba, Shara Da Silva, Lanette Davis, Caitlyn Daye, Marcqwenton Dennis, Mistie Diggs, Dasia Dillard, Celeste Duran, Brianna Erwin, Lisbeth Estrada, Octhobenz Eustaquio, Carson Ezell, Juan Fernandez, Joanna Field, Storm Fleming, Anesia Flores, Luis Flores, Abigail Floyd, Kelsey Fry, Garet Fuquay, Mayra Galvan, Angelica Garcia, Rosa Garcia, Chassity Garrett, Danielle Gilbert, Catherine Gilbreath, Nancy Giron, Jessica Goode, Kory Grammer, Jordan Green, Mackenzi Green, Michael Griffin, Meagan Griggs, Christopher Grigsby, Jose Guerra, Louis Guerra, Krystal Guillot, Aleya Hackney, Charles Hale, Ashley Hall, Skylar Hamons, Nadia Hartnauer, Munna Hasan, Faiza Hassan, Joshua Hawkins, Lanikka Hawthorne, Amber Hayes, Michelle Heins, Hannah Hengen, Jennifer Hernandez, Maria Hernandez, Cadence Hiltz, Destiny Hister, Sabrina Hoang, Lerkeysher Horton, Ashley Howard, Kiara Hunter, Taneisha Hunter, Braniya Jackson, Kenyatta Jackson, Ebrima Jobe, Chelsea Johnson, Cordarion Johnson, Dominie Johnson, Kristi Johnson, Christopher Jolly, Jared Jones, Jordan Jones, David Juarez, Jeri Kahler, Michelle Kincaide, Kristina King, Ian Knipe, Tiffany Lampin, Ashley Loggins, Barbara Lopes De Carvalho Do Prado, Lydia Lopez, Maria Lopez, Yolanda Lovett, Sadie Lovin, Drake Malmstrom, Cieara Mapps, Abimael Marino, Alyssia Martinez, Kyla Martinez, Maria Martinez, Victoria Martinez, Tiron Massenburg, Kaitlin McCoy, Halstyn McDonald, Amber McDowell, Megan McKeand, Jared McLean, Emilia Medina, Juan Mejia, Miguel Mejia, Steffany Melgar, Deisy Mendez, Melinda Merrell, Amanda Mills, Kevin Mojarro, Gabriela Mojarro Gonzalez, Erin Monreal, Breanna Mooney, Denis Moreira, Hector Moreno, Lilyann Moreno, Adelita Morris, Kristyan Mosley, Lauren Muckleroy, Kassidy Mumphrey, Sara Munoz, Saralyn Munoz, Ariel Nays, Kalli Nichols, Emily Niebuhr, Daniel Nieto, Kimberly Nino, Brenda Nunez, Roxana Oblitas, Jacqueline Ocampo, Clayton Orr, Brenda Ortega, Caylin Palmer, Neal Patel, Gabriel Pecina, Harrison Perry, Lars Peterson, Adriana Picou, Corey Poole, Carmen Price, Jordan Pruitt, Keeley Pursifull, Giovanni Ramirez, Omar Rangel, Taylor Rasco, Kaylee Ray, Aaron Reneau, Azucena Reyes, Jeanette Reyes, Danielle Richard, Alyssa Richey, Fletcher Rives, Abigail Rockovich, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Martin Rodriguez, Melissa Rodriguez, Pamela Rodriguez, Montoya Rogers, Iliana Rosales, Jason Russell, Sabrina Russell, Andrea Scott, Noah Sepulveda, Randall Setzler, Clarence Shackelford, Tate Skaggs, Joseph Smith, Anthony Smith IV, Irma Solis, Rogelio Sosa, Melinda Stangle, Sydney Stewart, Christian Stone, Taylor Struggs, Sarah Tatum, Leonard Tenner, Vickie Tennyson, Alexandria Thompson, Davion Thompson, Derriun Thompson, Meagan Thompson, Dylan Throckmorton, Edith Tiscareno, Hien Tran, Ndukwe Uduma, Katherine Underwood, Karla Vallejo, Mireya Vazquez, Johana Velasco, Norali Velazquez, Caden Vick, Jonathan Villa, Madison Villegas, Francisco Villela, Briana Von Bargen, Khiem Vu, Daniel Wagers, William Wagnon, Tracy Walker, Lacey Warren, Jenna Weaver, Garrett Welguisz, Sydney West, Joshua White, Jaylen Williams, Clarissa Williamson, Heather Wilson, Zachary Winans, Cora Woodard, Daniel Yates and Nyia Young
VAN: Josue Arroyo, Sarah Burke, Katelyn Fry, Melissa Lopez, Amanda Meyers and Madison Sain
VILA-REAL, Spain: Marc Tirado
WEST MONROE, Louisiana: Dino Brancato
WHITEHOUSE: Nicole Brooks, Khristofor Burns, Zachery Cox, Miranda Davis, James DuPree, Bradley Erwin Thomas, Sydney Garcia, Amanda Garza, Virginia Hearon, Anthony Hernandez, Bailey Hulme, Brian Hutchins, Stephen Kloosterman, Maria Lumley, Veronica Maynes, Ashley McClung, Jessica Morgan, Shelby Morgan, Reebekah Robinson, Rob Trimble V, Maxwell Turner and MacKenzie Wright
WILLS POINT: Kathryn Echols, Morgan Hollister, Amanda Owens, Koreigh Redding and Michaela Redding
WINNSBORO: Hayley Maddux, Brandi O’Shea
WINONA: Elizabeth Fincher, Britany Lowdermilk, Karla Munoz and Eric Ortiz

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