Tyler Junior College recognized 689 graduates for the Fall 2020 semester during a three-day series of personal, “VIP-graduation-style” ceremonies created to allow the students to celebrate their achievement and walk the stage while still maintaining health and safety guidelines. 

TJC held 21 micro ceremonies Monday-Wednesday in Wagstaff Gymnasium, with attendance limited to 20 graduates per session. Each graduate was allowed to bring two guests. Physical distancing and face coverings were required, and faculty and staff were represented by cabinet members of the TJC Faculty Senate. 

Donning their caps and gowns, the graduates crossed the stage to receive their diplomas in the presence of TJC President Dr. Juan E. Mejia and Provost Dr. Deana Sheppard. Also present at the ceremonies were Mitch Andrews, vice president for institutional advancement, who emceed the ceremonies; Kim Lessner, vice president for operations, working out logistics; Kevin Fowler, chief human resources officer, assisting the graduates; and Elizabeth Olivier, interim dean of the TJC School of Nursing and Health Sciences, giving remarks to healthcare graduates. 

Even behind face coverings, smiles of excitement were evident among the graduates and their families. 

“I was not going to miss this,” said Willie Edwards, a medical office management graduate from Clarksville, who took the day off from her job at Parkland Hospital in Dallas to attend the ceremony with her son, Dreylund Edwards, and his fiancée, Abigail Barra. 

Edwards spent more than 20 years working in public school offices before deciding to further her own education at TJC. 

“I actually found TJC though a Google search,” she said, “and I’m glad I did, because it has been a great experience. The professors were excellent. I learned the correct way to manage a medical office.” 

Brittany Riley, of Crockett, was one of the first students to earn an award from TJC’s new culinary arts program. Riley earned a certificate of proficiency in pastries. 

“I started out in the culinary program at TSTC (Texas State Technical College) in Waco and transferred to TJC especially for the pastries program,” she said. “I learned a lot from Chef Matson and Chef Dudley, and now I hope to follow in my mom and grandmother’s footsteps and start my own business making wedding cakes.” 

Lisa Brown, of Athens, graduated magna cum laude with associate degree in nursing. A mother of five, Lisa and her two youngest children, Joshua and Christiana, entered the TJC vocational nursing program together in 2017. 

They all graduated the vocational nursing program in August 2018. 

Joshua, who worked two years as a nurse at Healthsouth Rehabilitation Hospital, now serves as a Healthsouth marketing liaison, preparing patients for their transition from the regular hospital to the rehab facility. He also works in the ICU unit at UT Health East Texas. 

Christiana, who found her calling in elder care, serves as a charge nurse at a nursing center in Malakoff. 

Lisa continued her studies at TJC and, on Wednesday, earned her associate degree as a registered nurse. She plans to serve in disaster relief efforts or in the mission field. 

“I’m just overflowing with gratitude,” she said. “This college is really a class act and a gem of academia. We love this place and want to make TJC proud because everyone cared so much and poured their hearts into all of us. I wouldn’t change a single thing about this experience.” 

Mejia said, “We’ve been looking forward to this time of celebrating our graduates and honoring them for their hard work and success. They have been so resilient and bold to continue their college journey during such a challenging time.”

He encouraged the graduates to go out and be the leaders of tomorrow, saying, “One of our great North American writers wrote that the greatest need we have today is for leaders who will not be bought nor sold, for leaders who will be sincere and honest in the most intimate parts of their souls, for leaders who will be true to what is right, just like the compass will always point to the pole, and for leaders who will stand on the side of justice though the heavens may fall. That is among the greatest needs that we have today; and we know that with our graduates, we will be in very good hands.”

TJC Fall 2020 graduates and their hometowns

ABILENE: Cecilia Kohl

ALBA: Clara Gilliam, Kendall Harpole

ALLEN: Jalen Christopher

ALTO: Haley Bivens, Tracy Gholston, Sharenza Green

ANNA: Romel Readus

ARLINGTON: Ariyana Edwards, Tyra Neal

ARP: Gabriella Aguilar, Cheyenne Harris, Jordyn Johnson, Robin Johnson, Kaitlyn King, Alixa Rodriguez

ATHENS: Lisa Brown, Ashleigh Hillhouse, Matthew Mingus

AUBREY: Elizabeth Partida, Taylor Swarbrick

AUSTIN: Katie Burns


BANGS: Kristina Woodruff

BEN WHEELER: Wyatt Batie, Diane Bishop, Samantha Cervantes, Diana Dillivan, Trever Hamby, Britney Lemus, Virginia Medrano, Austin Scott

BIG SANDY: Thomas Champion, Hannah Renfroe

BROWNSBORO: Meghan Migura

BULLARD: Amanda Artea, Alexandra Black, Roxanne Carpenter, Sarah Crossman, Casey Duck, Delaney Folmar, Jesse Gordey, Juliann Hill, Kaylee Homan, Jacob Ives, Johnny King III, Maria Molina, Angel Pineda, Kristen Ragon, April Roach, Weston Roach, Amanda Sword

BURLESON: Stephanie Upchurch

CAMPBELL: Rebeccalynn Gift

CANTON: Tyler Autry, Melissa Gonzalez, Jaclynn Kaumo, Kody Landes, Hannah Lara, Brandon Mayne, Emilia Perez, Rylee Risner, Bret Robbins, Deysy Rojo, Rebecca Ryer, Maxwell Sharpe

CARTHAGE: Kaitlyn Watkins

CENTERVILLE: Brooke Denman

CHANDLER: Raquel Conner, Jessica Marugg, Cassie Richardson, Kara Simmons, Maggie Stephens, Katherine Zelenak

CIBOLO: Jazlyn Parker

COMMERCE: Chelsi Riley

CONROE: Heather Bridges

CRANDALL: Brett Knowles

CROCKETT: Brittany Riley

CUMBY: Camri Price

CUSHING: Macey Griffith, Morgan Griffith, Laura Langham

DAINGERFIELD: Brianna Precise

DALLAS: Jimmy Bernau, Hunter Branin, Jonathan Jackson, Tiara Mikel, Lashonda Minor, Samuel Ortiz, Sonnie Saylae

DESOTO: Xymora Bryant, Benjamin Williams II

DIANA: Zachary Terry

DUNCANVILLE: Eliana Zambrano

EDGEWOOD: Sierra Govan, Lauren Jackson, Tina Jones

ELKHART: Kaytlyn Jones

ELLISVILLE, Mississippi: Turner Hughes

ENGLEWOOD, Colorado: Sydney Mulder

ENNIS: Gracie Taylor

FATE: Jamie Parrish

FLINT: Camillia Bell, Laurie Bindo, Brandon Boyd, Joseph Brewer, Shawn Burton, John Campbell, Wesley Carter, Gabriella Chelette, Erica Covey, Edward Davies, Curtis Fleming, Kelsey Gray, Emily Hukill, Casey Hull, Lisa Inthavilay, Dexter Jenkins, Gracie Mcdonald, Guy Parker, Troy Rachal, Catherine Rebollar, Will Roach, Catherine Travis, Jennifer Wilson

FORNEY: Jasmin Garcia, Tiara Mickens

FORT WORTH: Taszah Jefferson, Lloydeshia Pinson

FRANKSTON: Jaela Davis, Andrea Guthrie, Cheryl Hahn, Audree Martin, Marissa Scarbrough

FRUITVALE: Karli Darcey

FULSHEAR: Riley Gaffney

GARLAND: Natalie Hughes

GARRISON: Junelle Heldenbrand

GARY: Darrian Ingram

GILMER: Mack Allen, Tara Dinkins, Rainy Dollison, Sierra Starnes

GLADEWATER: Cheyenne Allison, Heather Hall, Corby Stevenson

GRANBURY: Alicia Salgado

GRAND PRAIRIE: Ryleigh Guntle

GRAND SALINE: Hunter Daniels, Makayla David, Amber Littlejohn, Bryli Stanley, Kerry Tibbs, Natanael Valdez

GRAPELAND: Adam Fuller, Erika Rodriguez

GREENVILLE: Cierra Crosby

GREENWELL SPRINGS, Louisiana: Zach Aldredge

HAWKINS: Tanna Denton, Sarah Fenton, Kathryn Hodges, Keona Tamez

HENDERSON: Christian Ford

HIDEAWAY: Patrick McClain, Jonathan Tabb

HOLLY LAKE RANCH: Kaylee Camp, Kaitlin McGee

HOUSTON: Kha'Dadrian Brown, Brenda Guerrero, Joshua Jones, Fallah Popeh

HUNTINGTON: Amanda Collins

HUTCHINS: Bettaye High

JACKSONVILLE: Sherena Allen, Yanelly Barrera, Eliana Borja, Esmeralda Botello, Chase Carr, Bailee Clark, Lyndsey Douglas, Edgar Gonzalez, Melissa Hood, Stephanie Lacy, James Locke, Makenzy Mack, Rebecca Martinez, Noemi Mendez, Andrea Merrill, Joseph Monthie, Mckenzie Morton, Ana Muniz, Carlos Perez, Noemi Posada, Dariana Quintero, Marlen Reyna, Theresa Robinson, Cruz Rocha, Brenda Sanchez, Laci Scruggs, Jared Sexton, Connor Shofner, Bailee Shreve, Emily Torres, Nicolas Worsham

KARNACK: Katelynn Richardson

KAUFMAN: Isaac Bernardo, Kathryn Hall, Jennifer Roberts

KEMP: Lucas Minyard

KERRVILLE: Giordano Sirianni

KILGORE: Victoria Florence, Aurelia Garcia, Bailey-Nichole Haley, Aaron Olivas, Sadie Shafer, Caleb Wood

KINDER, Louisiana: Hayden Thomas

KYLE: Chelsey Willey

LAKE JACKSON: Keegan Blair

LARUE: Kacey Presley


LINDALE: Kristal Baith, Brooklyn Bowman, Wendy Christian, Sean Clare, Michael Cooley, Jerri Cox, Jazmin De Castaneda, Lauren Dotson, Hannah Emerson, Amanda Fair, Teree Gill, Amber Greene, Leah Hobbs, Haylie Horton, Hannah Irwin, Kara McPherson, Michaela Murphy, Colby O'Connor, Karina Pettyjohn, Amy Phillips, Dakota Pool, Saul Rios, Megan Romine, Aliyah Sawyer, Holly Segura, James Slider, Christopher Smith, Austin Turner

LONGVIEW: Britnee Anderson, Janeen Baldwin, Japheth Baya, Abigail Fobell, Carly Garcia, Kanika King, Rachel Leake, Sarah Lewis, Alda Lim, Jasmine Martin, Jesus Ortega Bravo, Fabiola Panameno, Litzy Pascual, Jacqueline Ramirez, Jayden Richardson, Codie Riley, Ger'Stoya Roberts, Liberty Rundell, Emily Savinon, Lindsey Slater, Sahory Tapia Reyes, Rosangelica Vargas-Gonzalez, Hillary White

LUFKIN: A'Tia Fredieu, Ivie Massie, Teya Simmons, Rebekah Walsh

MABANK: Destiny Stout

MARIETTA, Georgia: Jonae Hooks

MARSHALL: Ashley Griffis

MESQUITE: Tayla Chivers, Caitlyn Guevara

MILFORD: Kieauna Hurtt

MINEOLA: Ernestina Candelario, Elisa Cortez-Jimenez, Dakotah Galbraith, Gloria Lovett, Janet Martinez, Shelby Morgan, Mary Read, Hailey Smith, Adam Warren

MISSOURI CITY: Mykhailo Kvantaliani

MONTGOMERY: Austin Ligon

MOUNT PLEASANT: Rosalin Hall, Anahi Rodriguez

MOUNT VERNON: Lauren Richards

MURCHISON: Amanda Robinson, Crystal Sawyer

NACOGDOCHES: Annsheneke Caraway, Se'Quoyah Mayfield, Stephanie Skinner

NEW LONDON: Debra McCullough

OMAHA: Elizabeth Mines

ORE CITY: Stormie Tolar

OVERTON: Rachel Dover, Jacy Harden, Raquel Hunt, Austin Lusk

PALESTINE: Mireya Cartwright, Amber Corley, Robyn Fort, Karsyn LaFitte, Lenis Lopez, Justice Nelson, Jasmine Peralta, Kimberly Sulser

PARIS: Jessica Martinez, James Neal


PITTSBURG: Shabrena Craig, Jessica Garcia

POINT: Emma Pajak

PROSPER: Jostein Clarke

QUEEN CITY: Jessica Fletcher

QUITMAN: Savannah Breding, Heather Deer, Haylie Thorsen, Brittany Walls

RENO: Jacob Ensey

ROANOKE: Jarrie Trimble

ROCKWALL: Alyssa Robles

RUSK: Emily Arnwine, Stormy Duran, Caleb Guess, Rebecca Hamilton, Erika Holland, Elizabeth Martinez, Alexzandria Pope, Kimberly Stewart, Kristen Villegas

SACUL: Shelby Prince

SCHERTZ: Savien Jenkins

SCURRY: Haven Orton

SPRINGTOWN: Brent Kennedy

SULPHUR SPRINGS: Noah Harris, Coy Matlock

TATUM: Edwin Oriano, Whitney Tovar

TEMPLE: Tyree Wright

TERRELL: Keni Gama, Chriss Landaverde


THREE RIVERS: Zachary Zamzow

TROUP: Matthew Adams, Shelby Bell, Alyssa Flora, Kalyn Howard, Jimmy Kennedy, Jordan Lynn, Samantha Marshall, Bailee McMoyle, Tristen Miles, Jeffrey Millen, Jose Moreno, Sydney Saso, Rachel Singletary, Mackenzie Smith

TYLER: Jennifer Abell, Kathryn Adams, Javier Aguilar, Susana Aguilar, Betty Allen, Rheagan Allen, Savion Allen, Tamia Allen, Daysy Amante, Lia Amaya, Stephen Anderson, Beihla Angel, Martha Aparicio, Danielle Ariaza, Kendrick Armstrong Jr., Marcos Arnulfo, Subhan Asif, Kayla Austin, Robert Aylor, Keyla Barrera, Carlos Bautista, Miriam Bautista, Britney Berlanga, Jerick Bignell, Ma'Niyia Billington, Caper Bingham, Nicole Birney, Thomas Birt, Elsa Black, Melissa Black, Melissa Bock, Shelitrice Bonner, Joshua Booth, Gabriel Borunda, Destiny Bradshaw, Antonio Brigham, Chauntel Brooks, Jalah Brown, Valeria Bueno Rodriguez, Kolby Burford, Amanda Burke, Ieisha Burns, Karla Bustos, Amanda Campbell, Amber Carr, Jacqueline Carranza, Julia Carreon, Samuel Carrington III, Heather Carson, Ashlie Cartwright, Daisy Castillo, Jeannette Castorena, Maria Cerda, Wendy Cervantes, Marian Chance, Elvalyn Cole, Benjamin Cope, Flor Cornelio, Ashleigh Crone, Jesse Darden, Keveon Davis, Claudia Diaz, Matthew Diaz, Clayton Dobiyanski, Jaqueline Dominguez, Kristina Eckert, Haleigh Eichelberger, Raveen Ellis, Brandon Ervin, Amy Espinosa, Fabiola Espinoza, Alexis Ferguson, Camryn Fiorentino, Courtney Fleetwood, Ravyn Fletcher, Stephanie Fletcher, Kenya Flores, Alejandro Flores Jr., Chaquel Ford, Deona Ford, Jo Forks, Ryan Foster, Rochelle Fuller, Aaliah Fullerton, Adan Galdamez, Adalynn Gaona, Angelica Garcia, Giovana Garcia, Rebekkah Garcia, Daniela Garza, Elizabeth Garzoria, Adrianna Gauna, Sarah Gillespie, Daniel Gonzales, Luis Gonzalez, Meagan Gray, Tammy Grayson, Christopher Grigsby, Lydia Groth, Joseph Gruenwald, Keyana Hall, Skydra Haltom, Hannah Hammons, Lauren Hannah, Tonya Hatley, Alyssa Heckman, Emily Henry, Guadalupe Hernandez, Victoria Hernandez, Joshua Holland, Meagan Holland, Madisyn Holley, Ericka Holliman, Artoria Hunter, Juan Jacobo, Diana Jaramillo, Adriana Jenkins, Ebrima Jobe, Caylynn Johnson, Noah Johnson, Tyrell Jones, Joseph Jordan, Shreya Karki, Emman Khan, Kathryn Kozsuch, Ashlyn Lambert, Matthew Lambert, Kyle Lane, Iliya Lara, Tammy Larsen, Sherry Laurinaitis, Ashley Lazenby, Miracle Leal, Alfredo Leon, Katie Leon, John Lewis, Madison Lewis, Summer Lewis, Courtney Lindsey, Jordan Lindsey, Ty Lomas-Sanchez, Laura Lopez, Priscila Lopez, Zachary Lowery, Veronika Lunde, Chelsea Lutton, BreeAnna Marsh, Betsabe Martinez, Flora Martinez, Lyzbeth Martinez, Mark McAdams, Sarah McClellan, Francisco Medina, Jessica Medina, Joanne Medina, Yaritza Medina, Reagan Miley, Courtney Miller, Matthew Mills, Elisha Milton, Tyler Modlin, Bianca Mondragon, Maritza Montoya, JaKayla Moore, Jaselle Morales, Braden Morell, Shavunda Morgan, Amanda Morish, Jermiia Mosley, Elvira Muniz, Demecai Nays, Jason Newman, Christine Nguyen, Ryan Nguyen, Nathan Niedrauer, Karli Novander, Gitaiah Nugent, Natalie Olivares, Hezron Opiyo, Karina Ortega, Destiny Owens, Micah Parkerson, Alexandra Patino, Valeria Pena, Stephanny Penaloza, Jamey Pendergraft, Amy Peralta, Reyna Perdomo, Estela Perez, Alicia Perkins, Jaime Pesina, Sydney Peterson, Taliah Petty, Joshua Phelps, John Plemmons, Vernon Polk, Bobby Posey, Mandy Powell, Allecia Priest, Eliza Ransom, Perla Rebollar, Amanda Reed, Tashundra Reeves, Idalia Reina, Eva Reyes, Donna Rivera, Laura Rivera, Isela Rivera Perez, Miriam Rivera Perez, Ariel Roberson, Hannah Roberts, Jaden Robertson, Guadalupe Robles Salmeron, Diana Rodriguez, Kaylee Rodriquez, Jose Romero, Taylor Ross, Isai Salgado-Leon, Alexander Sanchez, Jazmin Sanchez, Gage Sanders, Emyly Saucedo, Andrew Seale, Hannah Secrest, Torrey Sellers, Christian Sessions, Steven Sharkey, Hailey Sheffield, Angela Shorten-Jackson, Leterrance Simmons, Brittani Smith, Jessica Smith, Kasy Smith, Caleb Smithee, Saul Solis, Yecenia Sosa, Zandra Steward, Sierra Stone, Taja Summers, Alicia Switzer, Silvia Tadeo, Darius Taylor, Laurie Taylor, Terri Teeler, Ashley Todd, Guadalupe Tranquilino, Dianela Trejo-Parera, Madison Tucker, Uchenna Uduma, Nnenna Ugbonta, Mustafa Ullah, Nicholas Umbower, Maegan Underwood, Rafael Valdez, Andres Valencia Leyva, Joshua Vanwinkle, Andrea Vasquez, Elizabeth Vause, Jazmin Velasquez-Rodriguez, Briseida Velazquez, Madhuri Verma, Mary Vidal-Gray, Toni Vivien, Tracy Walker, Morgan Warren, Miranda Watson, Morgan Webb, Hailey Webster, Tamara Wetmore, Zhaekyra White, Thomas Williamson, Hannah Wood, Cortney Wyatt, Jakelin Yanez, Giselle Zarate, Iriana Zavala

VAN: Emily Fry, April Hancock, Ana Prabhakar, Emily Presswood, Will Whittenberger

VIDOR: Elissa Grimes

WASHINGTON, D.C.: Paul Arevalo

WHITE OAK: Alexis Owens, Shanna Selph

WHITEHOUSE: Katelyn Carlile, Bibiana Carrasco, Morgan Coats, Amanda Cobb, Drake Cross, Drew Davis, Natalie Decur, Trenton Faulkner, Amanda Fritter, Kaitlyn Hays, Rachael Kennedy, Cerilene Lamb, Luke Logan, Haley Morris, Juwonna Puckett, Sofia Sanchez, Bethany Schmidt, Carlie Sparks, Hallie Stewart, Savanna Stone, Caleb Tarr, Benjamin Teves, Malloree Thornton, Jesse Vann, Dalton Volkman, Crystal Zuniga

WICHITA FALLS: Haley Steflik

WILLS POINT: Donna Bazarow, Jacie Brimage, Kristina Leipply, Garrett Matlock

WINNSBORO: Cheyenne Scheu

WINONA: Kaelyn Kopper, Sarah Stiles, Tabatha Taylor

WYLIE: Jordyn Perry

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