May 11, 2014

Martinsville Bulletin

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Twenty-seven area residents have new academic credentials, and new optimism for the future, thanks to the New College Institute.

The 27 are graduating this spring from universities that offer programs at NCI in Martinsville. Sixteen of the students are receiving bachelor’s degrees and 11 have earned master’s degrees.

The students officially graduate from the universities giving their degrees: Longwood, Averett, Norfolk State, Old Dominion and Virginia Commonwealth. But NCI recognized them at an informal ceremony Wednesday at the former Henry County courthouse.

The students may go through larger, more traditional graduation ceremonies later, but it is unlikely they will be more personal and meaningful than last week’s program. Several graduates shared their stories of personal sacrifice to earn their degrees, including time away from their families and schedules so busy that meals sometimes fell by the wayside. This was a chance to not only honor the graduates but also to applaud those who helped them along the way — spouses and other family members, friends, NCI staff and instructors, and friends.

The message gleaned from the program is that education comes at a cost and is not easy, but it is worth the commitment and work to have a brighter future. That is an appropriate message for students at all levels of education and for this community. Education is the key to a better future.

Much of the focus on the New College Institute in recent months has been on its new building on the Baldwin Block in uptown Martinsville. Wednesday’s program reminded the community that students and a better future are the reasons for NCI to build and grow.