(Bradenton, FL—January 25, 2019) Manatee Technical College graduated 287 students, of which 112 participated in the college’s Winter 2019 graduation ceremony on January 24, 2019, in Cantrell Hall.
Graduates represented 25 career certificate programs from the Main and East campuses in the areas of Arts, Automotive and Marine, Business Management and Administration, Construction, Dental Assisting, Emergency Medical, Hospitality, Information Technology, Manufacturing, Nursing, and Salon Services.
Sara Lavdari, graduating from the nurse assisting program, was one of three graduation speakers. She spoke of losing her mom being the toughest period in her life, but that out of that difficult time came her career path. “It is because of her that I found my strength,” she said. “I found in myself a desire to help others, the same way doctors and nurses helped my family.” Lavdari’s classmate and fellow grad Emely Mendez spoke next. Mendez expressed her gratitude for “a chance to start a career once I graduate.” Mendez and Lavdari were dual-enrolled high school students from Southeast High and members of the National Technical Honor Society, as well.
Gina Bianchi, graduating from the culinary arts program, was the third speaker. The 46-year-old Bianchi left a career as a marketing manager to pursue a dream. “I will be forever grateful to MTC,” she said. “No matter what age…you are, you can succeed if you just put your mind to it.”
MTC director Dr. Valerie Viands officiated. Deputy Superintendent Doug Wagner spoke of MTC meeting its mission. Joining them onstage to congratulate the graduates were School Board chair David Miner and board members Rev. James Golden, Dr. Scott Hopes, and Mr. Charlie Kennedy.
East campus assistant director Dr. Jennifer Gilray led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance. Main campus assistant director Greg McGrew gave the Invocation. MTC career counselors Xela Brutus, Amy Gates, Kathleen Matthews, Roderick Mitchell, Terri Parrish, and Mark Toler presented diplomas.