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Lane College Students Share Journey to Graduation

By Natalie Potts
By npotts@wbbjtv.com

JACKSON, Tenn., - Graduation is a moment Lane College students said they have been waiting years for.

Lane College conducted its summer commencement Sunday afternoon in the J.F. Lane Health and Physical Education Building located on campus.

More than 70 men and woman earned baccalaureate degrees in the Arts and Sciences. School officials said, this year's summer commencement was the largest class in the history of Lane College.

Edward L. Stanton III, who is the United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, delivered the commencement address. Stanton said, graduating college is not only a milestone but an accomplishment for many students in West Tennessee. "Many of these individuals that are graduating, are the first in their families to matriculate through college, " said Stanton.

Twenty-three year old Jevon Catlett, who is the first to graduate in his family, said he believes his degree came after many years of hardship and support from fellow students. Catlett said friends and family helped him cope with family struggles, "I been through a lot. I came in my freshman year going through the death losing my brother," said Catlett.

Catlett believes his brother's memory encouraged him to not only become a campus minister for other troubled students on campus, but to go to class and make a difference.

" He is one of the individuals who persuaded me to go to college, so losing him was very hard at the time. Today, I'm doing it for him," said Catlett.

Graduates said, every student has a different journey. School Officials said they recognized their journey as a milestone.
"In today's society, it's somewhat very difficult, out of every 100 people that start 1st grade, fewer than 10 of them go on the receive a degree," said Richard Donnell, Vice President of Institutional Advancement.

Brenda Watson, 59 said she believes the most important message for students is to finish school. "It's a big accomplishment. It's something I've gone back to do after becoming a grandmother, so it is a very big accomplishment," said Watson.

Although each path is different, graduates said they agree success comes after hard work and determination.

"Hang in there, it's worth it its, it pays off," said Watson.

Lane officials said they believe graduation numbers are going up. Students said they are optimistic about the future.