Empowering, Informing, and Connecting Our College Community

Edmonds Community College celebrates its 49th annual Commencement ceremony


Edmonds Community College celebrated its 49th annual Commencement ceremony on June 10 at 7:30 p.m. at XFINITY Arena in Everett.

As the Irish poet William Butler Yates once said, “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”

"We honor and applaud the hard work, talent, and persistence of our graduates as they begin to realize their unlimited potential," Hernandez said. "This achievement is a milestone on the path of their journey of lifelong learning. We know that this is only the beginning for our graduates and anticipate that their success will blaze a trail for future Edmonds CC students."

In 2015-16, Edmonds CC awarded 2,152 degrees, certificates, diplomas, and GEDs. The youngest graduate is 16, and the oldest is 69.

This year’s student commencement speakers were Yujie “Crystal” Ma, 17, and Marcus Martinez, 34.

Yujie "Crystal" Ma
Yujie "Crystal" Ma

When Yujie Ma was 16 years old, her parents felt that studying abroad at an early age would help broaden her horizons. When they found out about Edmonds CC’s High School to University program, a high school completion program for international students, Ma decided it was the right program for her and moved to Washington from the Henan Province of China.

During her time at Edmonds CC, Ma engaged with the variety of cultures and clubs that the college has to offer.

“Volunteering with the Global Volunteer Club and the Center for Student Engagement and Leadership  helped me get involved as a new student,” said Ma. “I had better understanding of different cultures by meeting people who had various cultural backgrounds and stories. Those interactions improved my English while gaining those valuable experiences that you can’t always learn in a classroom.”

Ma also worked as an international mentor for the Housing and Residence Life office at Edmonds CC where she served as a liaison between students and host families in the Homestay Program. After advertising, researching, and planning in her position, she realized that she wanted to go into the marketing field.

After graduating from Edmonds CC with her Associate in Business Degree, Ma will be transferring to Western Washington University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in marketing. Ultimately, she would like to become a marketing executive.

Ma’s advice to the graduating class, “Live in the moment. It is normal to feel lost when we graduate. Everyone worries about that next step or which job you are going to get. Take this time to do simple things like reading an inspiring book, going to a baseball game, or spending time with family. Taking care of yourself is important.”

Marcus Martinez
Marcus Martinez

When Marcus Martinez sat down in his first class at Edmonds CC, he was nervous. Not only was he unsure about his classes, he was worried about his decision to even attend college. Then, someone who he thought was a student sat next to him and they began to talk about the class. After a brief conversation, she had helped him realize that he was going to be just fine. Little did Marcus know that he was actually talking to the classes’ instructor, Deborah Kuhlmann. From then on, he knew he had made the right decision.

Martinez had always had a knack for remembering numbers so he felt that accounting could be the field for him, but he was aware of the challenges he would have to face. After working for 14 years in the fast food industry, he knew that he was ready to make a change.

“My wife Kristina has always been a big supporter in all that I do and she has never doubted me,” explained Martinez. “She encouraged me to go to school and study to be an accountant. I’m glad I listened to her and now love what I do.”

During his time at Edmonds CC, Martinez was selected to attend the Annual National Conference for Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE®) in Washington D.C. as a student delegate. The experience opened his eyes to challenges student face in higher education.

“Students go through so much and it is our job to be change agents to enhance their success,” said Martinez.

Martinez was recently hired by Radiant Global Logistics in Bellevue and works in their accounts payable department. His future plans include completing his bachelor’s degree in accounting.

Martinez’s advice to the graduating class, “stay true to yourself and take pride in all that you do. Never be afraid to work for what you truly want out of life.”

2015-16 Graduating Class — By the Numbers

Information based on May 2016 data.  

2015-16 College Highlights

During the past year, some of our best moments were spent:

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Marisa Pierce