GALLATIN – Students, family, and well-wishers filled the Pickel Field House in Gallatin on Saturday to celebrate Volunteer State Community College fall commencement. They included many Upper Cumberland students. Sixty-five prospective fall 2019 graduates attended Vol State at the Livingston or Cookeville campuses.
For Melody Montgomery of Livingston, the road to a college degree was not an easy one. “My life has been spent in addiction. I’ve been in and out of jail since I was young. I quit high school in the 10th grade. I actually took one of my GED (high school diploma) tests in jail.”
That initiative took her to Vol State in Livingston at 43 years of age. She had a singular purpose: “I want to work with women who have been involved in drugs and alcohol,” she said. “I like showing people that there is hope; that there is a life beyond addiction.”
Montgomery is considering attending Tennessee Tech for social work. She said she will miss the Vol State faculty and staff. “Vol State has been my home. The people at the Livingston campus have been my family. I was so nervous going in and everyone made me feel comfortable.”
Dennis Powers, class of 1973, gave the Alumni Association welcome. He is the Distinguished Alumnus of the Year. Former Pittsburgh Steelers and University of Tennessee football punter, Craig Colquitt, was the commencement speaker. The two-time Super Bowl champion reminded the graduates: “The opportunities come from how you decide your own life.”
For the entire college, there are 847 prospective graduates this year. They represent 22 different countries of birth. Thirty-one of the prospective graduates are military veterans. There are 324 TN Promise students expecting to graduate this fall and 173 TN Reconnect adult students.
For more pictures from graduation visit www.facebook.com/volstate.