More than 330 graduates participated in Greenville Technical College (GTC) Commencement Exercises held Friday, December 20 at the Greenville Convention Center.
Three graduates – Kaitlin Abercrombie, Clifford “Brock” Anders, and Orlando Montero --were recognized with the highest honors, the President’s Award. Kaitlin Abercrombie has a clear goal and the determination to reach it. A strong student in the Criminal Justice program, she completed a very successful internship last summer with the Greenville County Coroner’s Office, earning high marks from her supervisor. Her plans now include working as an investigator with the office and continuing her education to complete a four-year degree.
While serving as president of the Beta Chapter of Lambda Alpha Epsilon, the American Criminal Justice Association, Kaitlin led the team to win the organization’s overall award trophy at a recent conference and contributed to a first-place finish in the crime scene portion of the competition.
Life hasn’t been all smooth sailing for Kaitlin, who had to overcome many challenges to excel including the loss of her father when she was a senior in high school. The courage and willpower she found within herself in dealing with that trauma have left her better prepared to assist others, and she is always willing to help other students be successful by serving as a friend and a mentor.
Greenville Technical College’s mission is to transform lives through education, and Brock Anders is a perfect example of what that mission means for non-traditional students. In his thirties, he came to GTC because it was the economical choice for taking pre-requisites before transferring to a four-year institution. However, his time at GTC has meant much more than that. He has developed leadership and academic skills that will serve as a platform for success as he moves on after graduation. He will attend Clemson University to pursue an environmental and natural resources degree with a focus on conservation biology starting this spring, and he is well prepared to continue his record of success.
In every aspect of his GTC education, Brock has gone above and beyond. A student in the Honors Program, he has surpassed the requirement of taking five Honors courses, completing six while earning a cumulative GPA of 3.804. Instead of the 40 hours of service learning required, Brock has logged nearly 100, assisting with Greenville Tech Foundation and Honors Program events and getting involved with the Clemson University 4H Club and Chess Club.
While some students care about course content only as it impacts grades, Brock is described as someone who works hard in class because he is genuinely interested in what he is learning. As he continues his education at Clemson, Brock will also become a father, and his instructors at GTC see nothing but success ahead in all of his exciting new ventures.
Orlando Montero has overcome adversity and persevered. When he enrolled in the Electronics Engineering Technology program, he received assistance from the company where he was employed. When the employer later eliminated his shift and terminated the contract, Orlando decided to pursue the degree on his own, working 12-hour shifts on the weekends to support his family while attending classes full-time during the week.
A model student, Orlando shows his children and classmates that it takes hard work to achieve your goals. He demonstrates the value of giving your best, consistently earning high grades in spite of the many responsibilities he is juggling.
He also teaches his children, through example, the importance of helping others. Orlando shares his knowledge of mathematics and Spanish at the college. In the community, he is willing to assist others in any way he can. Based on the qualities he has exhibited as a student at GTC, one of his instructors wrote that she expects great things of Orlando as he finishes his degree and moves forward in his career.