A-B Tech 2024 Commencement Ceremony Set for Saturday, May 11 at Harrah’s Cherokee Center in downtown Asheville

A-B Tech 2024 Commencement Ceremony Set for Saturday, May 11 at Harrah’s Cherokee Center in downtown Asheville

A-B Tech Community College will celebrate approximately 400 graduates during its 2024 Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 11, at Harrah’s Cherokee Center in downtown Asheville.

A-B Tech President John Gossett will preside over the ceremony and Asheville entrepreneur Ginger Frank, founder and CEO of Poppy Hand-Crafted Popcorn, will deliver the keynote address.

“We look forward to commencement as the highlight of our academic year when we gather to celebrate our graduates, their journeys, and their success,” said A-B Tech President John Gossett. “Most of our graduates are first-generation college students who are transforming their own lives and the lives of their families for generations to come.”

A-B Tech will award more than 850 degrees and diplomas for the 2023-24 academic year (fall, spring, and summer semesters), and about 400 graduates are expected to cross the stage on Saturday. Among the graduates are six Cardio Sonography students who are the first graduates of their program, which the college began in 2022. All six students attended A-B Tech on scholarship and have jobs waiting for them after graduation.

The Class of 2024 also includes 60 high school students who will earn associate degrees from A-B Tech before they receive high school diplomas. Included are 33 students from Buncombe County Early College, 17 from Madison Early College, 3 from Buncombe County Middle College, four from Nesbitt Discovery Academy, one student each from TC Roberson High, SILSA, and Wake County, and four homeschool students. High school students take college courses for free under the NC Career & College Promise high school dual enrollment program.

The daughter of Mexican immigrants, Buncombe County Early College senior Naidelyn Aguilar-Martin, 18, will receive an Associate in Science degree with high honors and a Criminal Justice certificate from A-B Tech before graduating high school in June. She will continue her education at UNC Chapel Hill to pursue her dream of becoming an immigration lawyer so that she can help families like her own.

Other graduate highlights include:

  • Lily Dunham, who rebuilt her life by enrolling at A-B Tech after losing two fingers from her left hand in a construction accident. She has earned multiple Associate of Applied Sciences (AAS) degrees with high honors, including Computer Engineering Technology AAS, Electrical System Technology AAS, Electronics Engineering Technology AAS, and a diploma in Electrical Systems Technology.
  • Sophia deCordova, a soft-spoken student who will receive an Associate in Arts transfer degree, was honored by President Gossett with a service award in her name for founding a project that anonymously spread affirmations on sticky notes across campus.
  • Wei Chen, who immigrated from China because both she and her mother were denied an education. Wei came to A-B Tech for her GED and English studies and now will receive an Associate in Arts degree with high honors. After recently being diagnosed with breast cancer, she hopes to continue toward a business degree next fall.
  • Jason Boucher, A-B Tech’s State Academic Excellence Award nominee, was one of 58 statewide winners. He will receive an Associate in Arts degree.
  • Damaris Pierson, A-B Tech’s nominee for the state Gov. Robert W. Scott Leadership Award, was nominated for her compassionate leadership style in the Radiography program.
  • Nicholas Sutton is a transfer student who was awarded a $23,000 scholarship from the Goodnight Transfer Scholars Program to continue his education at NC State University, where he will study computer science.
    Learn more about these graduates and others at Commencement Profiles.

A-B Tech will confer degrees and diplomas in more than 60 program areas. Approximately 195 Associate in Arts degrees and 75 Associate in Science degrees will be awarded to transfer students who intend to pursue four-year degrees at colleges and universities. Other transfer degrees being awarded include Associate in Engineering (7), Associate in Fine Arts (12), and Associate in Arts: Teacher Preparation (7).

The college also will award 451 Associate in Applied Sciences (AAS) degrees and diplomas in a range of career fields spanning Aviation to Welding. The college trains bakers, chefs, brewers, hospitality managers, accountants, office administrators, medical coding specialists, pilots, paramedics, firefighters, police officers, construction workers, machinists, welders, healthcare professionals, and more.

The commencement ceremony will be signed by American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters, close captioned, and broadcast live on A-B Tech’s YouTube Channel, @abtech_cc. The college also will post photo galleries and a video on the college's Facebook and Instagram pages after the ceremony.

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