Del Tech graduates prepared for next chapter in the game of life

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Delaware Technical Community College Class of 2015 graduate Robert Spadaccini, left, chats with fellow veteran Lou Raganose following Tuesday’s commencement.

GEORGETOWN – Seaford resident Robert Spadaccini fought with the U.S. Army in the Vietnam War.

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Loren Harmon, 52, of Georgetown, holds the banner in leading the procession at Tuesday night’s Delaware Technical Community College Owens Campus graduation.

Soon to be 65, Mr. Spadaccini – a disabled veteran and a recovering addict 30 years and counting – is now volunteering in the war on drug and alcohol addiction.

Tuesday night, he was part of Delaware Technical Community College Owens Campus’ Class of 2015, exiting the stage with an Associate degree in Human Services – glazed with Magna Cum Laude high honors.

It’s just one rung in a planned trip up the education ladder, says Mr. Spadaccini, who volunteers at the A.C.E. (Acceptance Change Empowerment) center in Seaford and is involved in the anti-drug movement with the grassroots Sussex County Action Prevention Coalition.

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Seth Fair receives his Associate degree in Electronics Engineering Technology Tuesday evening during Delaware Technical Community College Owen Campus’ commencement. At left is DTCC President Dr. Mark Brainard, who was the keynote speaker.

“I have been doing pastoral counseling and recovery from addiction. That ministry is a strong, growing and an effective technique,” said Mr. Spadaccini. “So I decided to go for a degree. I’m going from here to the (Del Tech) Terry Campus in the fall. I’m going to get another Associate degree, in drug and alcohol counseling and then I’m going to DSU (Delaware State University) – if they’ll have me – to get my Bachelor’s in social work … so I can better serve the community.”

At age 64, Mr. Spadaccini was one of the older graduates – but not the oldest.

Age-wise, this year’s class spanned 19 to 68. There were 660 awards presented at the Owens Campus’ 47th commencement, 510 of them Associate degrees.

Females were the majority – comprising 59 percent of the graduating class – and 29 percent of the graduates were of minority ethnicity. Thirty-seven grads are veterans who served their country.

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Darlene Collins, left, was among Delaware Technical Community College Owens Campus Class of 2015 graduates.

“Our graduates are the stars this evening,” Dr. Ileana Smith, Vice President and Campus Director. “Each one of you has something to tell. Each one of you is an inspiration. This college is so proud of each and every one of you.”

Dr. Smith shared personal stories of several graduates, including:

  • Caitlyn Timko, a home-schooled product whose degree in the Medical Laboratory Technician field was iced with Phi Kappa Honor Society and Who’s Who Among Students in American Junior/Community College recognition;
  • Olga Bakhar, who came to America from Belarus eight years ago and earned her degree in paralegal with a 4.0 GPA;
  • Occupational Therapy graduate Tim Parks, who was laid off in 2008 and journeyed through Del Tech’s veterans retraining assistance program to become in Dr. Smith’s word’s “a role model for his peers.”
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Delaware Technical Community College graduate Shannon Bull of Milton holds her son Mason, 4, after Tuesday’s commencement at the Georgetown campus.

Celebrating in the parking lot with her 4-year-old son Mason and parents Stephen and Pamela Bull, 25-year-old Shannon Bull of Milton received a degree in Architectural Engineering Technology.

At the moment she is seeking employment with plans to further her education.

“I did two years at the University of Miami in their school of architecture,” Ms. Bull said. “I just wanted to get back in school and start somewhere again.”

Commencement speaker Dr. Mark T. Brainard is no stranger to Delaware Technical Community College. He graduated in 1981 from Del Tech with an associate degree in criminal justice. In  August 2014 he was appointed DTTC president.

Dr. Brainard reminded graduates that commencement is actually a beginning. “Your learning doesn’t stop today,” he said. “Del Tech has prepared you for everything you want to accomplish.”

“There is no better time to change the world. You are the solution,” Dr. Brainard added. “Be proud; tell your story.”

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at grolfe@newszap.com

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