Graduates encouraged, challenges at Wayland commencement

December 15, 2012

PLAINVIEW – What began with a moment of silence in remembrance of the victims and families of the tragic school shooting in Newtown, Conn., ended with the celebration of 78 students who received their degrees at Wayland Baptist University’s December commencement ceremony on Saturday.

Jason Huckabee, a graduating senior from Seymour, gave the student address, challenging his classmates to redefine success.

“In the world we live in, we are so pushed, especially in this season of life, to achieve things, to achieve success academically, financially, socially and vocationally,” Huckabee said. “In our society, success means the big house, the nice cars, the big bank account or making a name for yourself. Because of that pressure to be successful, I believe we lose sight of what true success really is.”

Huckabee said that as he entered college, originally at Texas Tech University, he had no sense of direction or purpose for his life. After “sleeping through two semesters,” he began looking for a path to success in what he saw as failure. In the midst of his search, his father gave him some advice.

“He said, ‘you will find success if you get connected to God and you connect with the people God wants you to connect with,” Huckabee said.

Huckabee enrolled at Wayland and began to pursue a path to success that he said was led by God.

“As I began seeking His will, not my own, God began leading me in every area of my life,” he said.

In closing, Huckabee challenged his classmates to find their path to success. Not based on society’s definition, but on what God has planned for them.

“You find true success when you find what God created you to do and you do it,” he said.
Wayland Baptist University President Dr. Paul Armes then gave a brief charge to the graduates, challenging them to do three things: Never underestimate their ability to change the world for Christ, understand that it does matter how they live and for whom they live, and never underestimate the importance of Christ in their lives.

Degrees were then conferred upon the graduates with two young ladies being recognized as highest ranking among the graduating class. Kristen Ditmore, from Fort Worth, received a bachelor of arts in English, graduating summa cum laude with a grade-point average between 3.9 and 4.0. Also graduating summa cum laude was Michelle Ritter, from Tucson, Ariz., receiving a bachelor of science in interdisciplinary studies degree.

Also receiving degrees were:

Master of Arts in Counseling: Anne Renée Borges, Denver, Colo.; Sammy J. Espinosa, Coahoma; Gloria Gonzalez, Snyder; Jametra Roshell Hill, Lubbock; Shirley Jean Johnson, Lubbock; Robin D’Ann Marlar, Plainview; Mara Lynne McDaniel, O’Donnell; Mindy Lacewell Petty, Norman, Okla.; Matt Harvey Thackerson, Idalou; Silvia Ann Velez, Lubbock.

Master of Arts in Management: Lara L. Ashley, Grenada, Miss.; Jerald J. Larkey, Kansas City, Mo.; Deborah Jo Zacher, Plainview.

Master of Business Administration: Joao Marcos Da Silveira Terra, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

Master of Education: Kelly Dawn Welch, Earth.

Master of Public Administration: Edward D. Dischley, Nesconset, N.Y.

Bachelor of Applied Science: Valessa Gutierrez, Plainview; Rachel Reyes Heredia, Plainview; Heath Lee Keller, Plainview; Erica Monique Knight, Lubbock; Benita Medina, Plainview; Ruby Shears, Plainview; Billy O’Neal Swartzel, Toney, Ala.; Misty Michelle Valles, Hale Center.

Bachelor of Arts: Joseph Robert Alaway, Perryton; Krystle L. Clinton, Turkey; Kristen Elizabeth Ditmore, Fort Worth; Erin Lynn Flores, Olton; Timothy Ross Garner, Palmdale, Cal.; Richard Vangelio Leal, Pampa; Brianna Lynn Lynch, Monahans; Cameron Shane Lynch, Monahans; Kathlyn Magallan, Hale Center; Kathleen Elizabeth McCullough, Lubbock; Garrett Neal Phillips, Lubbock; Jonathan Mark Topp, Mexico City, Mexico; Allison Lenora Vera, Plainview; Cameron Blayne Warren, Plainview.

Bachelor of Business Administration: Douglas Ray Baggett, Plainview; Jovanna Alexis Barrera, Plainview; Rachel Colleen Bartel, Pampa;  Robert Christopher Cummings, Lubbock; Jerry-Lee T. Davis, Bridgetown, Barbados; Von Jobi Sanchez, Plainview; Joshua Gene Williams, Olton.

Bachelor of Christian Ministry: Raymond Allen Gonzales, Wichita Falls.

Bachelor of Music: Christal Angella Patterson, Houston; Dámaris Rios, El Paso; TeAda Ann Short, Plainview; Morgan Victoria Switzenberg, Plainview.

Bachelor of Science: Elida Graciela Arsiaga, Monahans; Jose Manual Avila, Graham; Timothy Daniel Ballinger, Lubbock; Benjamin Glen Cox, Haxtun, Colo.; Christa Lea Day, Kaufman; Zackery Gibson, Plainview; Mauricio Patrick Hernandez, Plainview; Jason Matthew Huckabee, Seymour; Luke A. Ingraham, Plainview; Andrew Scott Palser, Dumas; Anna Kristine Pengra, Ridgefield, Wash.; Kady Nicole Pryde, Abilene; Richard Wayne Ross, Greencastle, Ind.; Jared White, Plainview; Chelsea Maddock Williams, Mandeville, La.

Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies: Erin Elizabeth Bailey, Plainview; Carissa Janae Clower, Taos, N.M.; Catherine Ann Dunn, Big Spring; Krisann Marie Earp, Crockett; Dana Annette Gose, Tucson, Ariz.; Shannon M. Mehaffey, Grandview; Rachel Elizabeth Lee Ramos, Anson; Robin Lynne Reichenbach, Little Elm; Michelle Moriah Ritter, Tucson, Ariz.; Candace lee Sain, Canyon; Kelli Elayne West, Corona, N.M.

Bachelor of Science in Occupational Education: Sheri Lea Browning Derrick, Plainview.