Nearly 900 students took the final step in their Anoka-Ramsey Community College student career May 11 – they became graduates.
Approximately 224 graduating students participated in the graduation ceremony at Coon Rapids High School.
Guest speaker U.S. Sen. Al Franken was on hand to congratulate the graduates.
The number one economic topic in this county is figuring out how to bounce back from the recession, Franken said.
While there are signs of recovery, he wants to see economic security rebuilt. It is about restoring the feeling that if a person works hard and plays by the rules, he/she will be able to carve out a comfortable life, he said.
“And there is no trampoline quite like education,” Franken said.
During his speech, Franken talked about the World War II debt the country had and how economic security was rebuilt after the war by the country’s investment in innovation and the space race.
“We bounced back to build a county where families could build… economic security,” he said.
By the late 1970s, America had the strongest economy in the world because it was the most educated country in the world, Franken said.
There was a national commitment to education through the GI Bill and Pell Grants, he said.
But the county is now the 16th most educated, Franken said.
“(Becoming college graduates) is a personal achievement you can be proud of,” Franken said.
“Your accomplishment is also an example.”
Some of the students came here under economic hardships and they made a choice to attend college, Franken said.
While some students may say they “just” attended a two-year college, fellow graduating student Robert Daun encouraged them to take pride in their accomplishments.
“We worked so hard,” he said. “Never sell your accomplishment short.”
“We made a wise choice (to attend Anoka-Ramsey) and worked hard for our accomplishment. We did something different and you worked hard for it. Be proud of your education,” said Daun, who graduated from the nursing program.
Tammy Sakry is at firstname.lastname@example.org