Just over 600 students graduated from Great Basin College (GBC) last Saturday, May 20, earning their degrees and taking the next steps in their lives.
It was no easy feat with many students taking classes while also working, having families, and many other circumstances, but thanks to their hard work, GBC’s flexible schedules and programs and dedicated staff, these students are going on to accomplish great things.
GBC’s Winnemucca and Battle Mountain Centers Director, Beck Coleman said she is very proud of this year’s graduates, with 42 graduates from Winnemucca walking in the ceremony, sent off with works of encouragement from the Interim President of the Nevada Mining Association, Dr. Dana Bennett and GBC’s Student Government Association President Zachary Stamp.
One graduate in particular, Larry Trigueiro, made a special impression this year through his hard work and dedication to getting his education, according to Coleman.
Triguero became a GBC student while incarcerated at the Lovelock Correctional Center and utilized a special grant in order to take classes. After he was released in January, he continued taking online classes and has completed his Associates of Arts degree.
“I am personally so proud of [Larry], because it is very hard to navigate the whole process of reintegrating to “life on the outside” and to have the mental/emotional presence to finish your education,” said Coleman in an email.
Through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form provided by GBC, Triguero was able to apply for Second Chance Pell Grant to take classes and worked hard, despite not having access to the internet for research, “stress of everyday life inside, and sometimes the workload.”
“What made me want to get my degree was my desire to create a better future for myself (increased opportunities) and wanting to feel that sense of accomplishment. I’m hoping that even though I will have to check that ‘Have you ever been convicted of a felony?’ box, employers will also see that I worked hard to turn my life around by pursuing a higher education,” said Triguero in an email.
Triguero plans on transferring his degree to a university in order to pursue his Bachelor’s Degree now that he has his Associates and said that the experience has taught him that he can achieve anything if he works hard and stays focused.
“It’s never too late to turn your life around. Education is the key to the future, so if you have the opportunity like I did, take advantage of it and work hard. If you’re not working hard every day to better yourself in some way, then you’re losing.”
According to Triguero, Coleman played a big role in helping him get his education, advocating for him and other students and giving him the “push” he needed, despite him working seven days a week after he was released and keeping up with parole.
“The most helpful person was Becky Coleman. She fought really hard behind the scenes to make sure we got funded, approved, and had everything we needed to be successful. She encouraged me to earn my degree, and here I am. I just needed that extra push!”
The graduates completed a wide range of programs, such as Electrical Systems Technology, Human Services, Business Administration, Early Childhood Education, Graphic Communications, Nursing, and many more.
Just like all of the graduates who work so hard to earn their degrees, Triguero is “hoping that more doors will be opened in life by earning a degree.”