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Tissue, Tears and Tenacity Highlight Graduation

Published on December 30, 2013 by Tiffany Coleman

(MERIDIAN) Broadview University has produced six more graduates who are ready for the Treasure Valley workforce. On Friday, December 20, a new group of students became the fifth official graduating class at the Boise campus. The graduates represent the university’s medical administrative assistant, business, paralegal, information technology and veterinary technology programs. Along with the traditional pomp and circumstance, tissue, tears and a whole lot of tenacity highlighted graduation.

Fall Quarter 2013 graduates (from left to right): Michelle Pratt, Victoria Pedraza, Debra Schmidt, Brenda Mericle and Alysia Kiefer.

Friends, family, staff members and Boise City Council President Maryanne Jordan, the event’s keynote speaker, gathered in the school’s Commons area to share the graduates’ special moment. Following opening remarks, graduates Victoria Pedraza, Michelle Pratt and Debra Schmidt spoke to the crowd—sharing stories about their experiences at Broadview University.

Pedraza, a business program graduate, said no matter how many times she changed majors or tried to quit, someone was always there encouraging her to go on.

“When I left high school to enter college I thought I would figure out exactly what I wanted to do with my life,” Pedraza said. “I was certain leaving college I would know what career I wanted for the rest of my life. With that philosophy, I changed schools three times and majors five times. I could not pick just one thing I wanted to do with the rest of my life. The staff here helped me to realize I can be anything I want to be.”

Pratt, a medical administrative assistant program graduate and military veteran, talked about the sacrifices she and her family have made in order for her to finish school.

Michelle Pratt said she faced a number of challenges to finish her degree. In the end, she was determined to make sure her children learned the value of hard work, perseverance and never quitting.

“Going to school full time, raising a family full time and helping my husband to deal with a full-time disability due to an ATV accident for three years ago is a lot for anyone to handle,” Pratt said. “I was my children’s example of hard work and perseverance. If I quit, it would be giving them the wrong impression. When things get tough, you don’t quit. You get going and you keep going until you finish!”

Schmidt, the school’s business program chair, earned her second master’s degree.

“I first started college when I was 37 years old with an 8th grade education,” Schmidt said. “The journey I have been on for many years now is a journey that has evolved me into a person who realizes that beyond all odds I continue to amaze myself in what I can accomplish. I truly embrace and understand that knowledge and education is something that no one can ever take away from you.”

Following their speeches, academic honors were awarded to Schmidt and medical administrative assistant program graduate Brenda Mericle. The graduates’ degrees were then conferred.

Determined to finish. Victoria Pedraza changed majors five times before she realized she was attending Broadview University in order to learn how to learn.

Pratt and Mericle received Associate of Applied Science in Medical Administrative Assistant degrees. Alysia Kiefer received an Associate in Applied Science in Veterinary Technology degree, Pedraza received an Associate in Applied Science in Business Administration degree and Schmidt received a Master of Business Administration degree. Two other graduates from the paralegal and information technology programs chose not to walk in the ceremony. Since opening its doors in January of 2011, the campus has produced 32 graduates.

A video of the graduates was also shown during the commencement ceremony. Pictures of the event can be found on Broadview University-Boise’s Facebook page.

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