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Commencement Student-Speaker Nominees

Every commencement TCC selects a student speaker to represent the graduating class. May 2008 nominees have overcome many obstacles to reach their academic goals. From here, they really can go anywhere.

Kimm Hall

Student speaker

Working as a medical coder for a good-sized medical practice, Kimm Hall was doing well in her field. But she always wanted more. “I began college, right after high school, but life got in the way,” Hall recalls. “I had my first child at 17, and as a young mother all of my energies went to caring for him, and working to support both of us.” She married soon after, had three more children, and life revved up to an even busier level.

“One day, while shopping at the mall with my children, I saw a booth with TCC information. I was drawn there,” adds Hall. “Soon I was thinking about college again. I knew that life was busy, but at this point, I felt like I needed to set an example for my children, especially my oldest son, who would soon have to decide about college for himself.”

“I applied and was accepted and then the doubts came back full-force,” she adds. “I didn’t know how I’d manage it all, especially with my mother’s illness with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and my husband working out of town during the work-week. But we all agreed to pull together to make it happen.”

Hall began taking classes in health information technology and excelled, earning a 3.5 grade point average. She became a member of Phi Theta Kappa and was named to the national dean’s list and the president’s list. While attending TCC, she took the certifying exams and earned the titles Gastroenterology Coding Specialist and Certified Coding Professional.

“The convenience of online classes and the resources of multiple campuses contributed to my success,” says Hall. “I’m leaving here with the education I was after, and so much more. I now have some wonderful friends who will soon become colleagues, and the confidence to move forward to wherever life takes me.”

Hall plans to continue her academic journey at Old Dominion University where she’ll pursue a bachelor’s in health sciences. Hall’s son Joe graduates this spring from Western Branch High in Chesapeake – also his mom’s alma mater. He plans to enroll at TCC in the fall.

Lamanda Beale

Student speaker runner-up

A recent graduate of King’s Fork high in Suffolk, Lamanda Beale never considered going anywhere else to begin college. “My guidance counselor recommended TCC and it sounded like a good plan,” says Beale.

A native of Suffolk and a first-time mom – right before commencement – Beale is happy to have her family around her. “My family is important to me, so it’s been great getting an education, right here at home.

Beale credits her TCC professors and counselors with her success. An honor student named to Who’s Who Among American High School Students, Beale was named to the TCC dean’s list and the president’s honor roll.

A member of Phi Theta Kappa, Beale graduated with an associate degree in administration of justice. She recently earned a two-year, $25,000 scholarship to continue her education at Virginia Wesleyan College, where she’ll major in criminal justice. She plans to pursue a career as a crime-scene investigator.

“On one hand, I’m excited about starting my criminal justice classes but, on the other, I’m sorry to be leaving TCC. It’s been a great place to start.”

Jessica Larsen

Student speaker runner-up

Jessica Larsen graduated with a general studies associate degree and big plans for the road ahead. She serves as a substitute teacher in the Virginia Beach public school system.

“Teaching our children is definitely the best and most fun way for me to give back to the community,” she says. Larsen plans future baccalaureate study in early childhood education at Old Dominion University.

During her time at TCC, Larsen was involved in campus clean-up days, and often organized study groups and shared her knowledge with struggling classmates. Named to the dean’s list, she graduated with a 3.2 grade point average.

Larsen, active in the college/career group at Cornerstone Baptist Church, regularly visits the elderly living in local nursing homes. “I’ve learned a lot and have improved my oral and written communication skills, while expanding my circle of friends,” Larsen adds. “My TCC experience has been positive.”

Cheryl Moreland
Student speaker runner-up

Inspired by her father and her autistic nephew, Cheryl Moreland decided to take the plunge and return to school. “I surprised myself. I wasn’t the best student in high school, but everyone at TCC has been so helpful,” Moreland adds. “Coming here was one of the best experiences of my life.”

Moreland works as a transcription specialist for eScribe. “I was doing okay in my job, even getting promoted to editor. At some point, I decided it was time for me to do what I wanted, so I began the training to become a certified medical coder.”

While at TCC, Moreland received the Mary F. Flickinger scholarship, became a member of Phi Theta Kappa and was an active volunteer with the American Legion and Women of the Moose organizations.

Moreland graduated with a 3.8 grade point average and an associate degree in health information technology. She plans to transfer to Old Dominion University for baccalaureate study in health sciences.

“I’m a more confident person than when I started here. Coming to TCC transformed me, helped me to grow. I now know that I can get out there and do anything I want.”

Ashley Sunday

Student speaker runner-up

While still in high school, Ashley Sunday became a respite therapist for a youth with autism. That work led her to want to become a registered nurse. “I found my calling and now it’s my goal to get an education that will enable me to help people with real needs,” Sunday says.

Sunday graduated with an associate degree in science with plans to enroll in TCC’s nursing program in the fall. From there, she’ll move on to Old Dominion University for baccalaureate study in nursing.

While at TCC, Sunday served as a student ambassador and a student activities volunteer. “I participated in Tech Prep, Legislative Days and even worked in the office,” Sunday adds. “Becoming part of the college community definitely helped me grow. I’m less shy now and have grown up some.”

Sunday received a high school honor graduate award and maintained a 3.4 grade point average. “I’ve learned to use my time efficiently,” she adds. “And I’m ready to take the next steps toward my future.”