AUGUSTA — “It makes you want to go for more and see what else you can do in your future,” said Jasmyne Overlock, of Waterville, who held her Kennebec Valley Community College diploma in her hand.

Overlock, a mother of two daughters, ages 2 and 4, received her associates degree in applied science in medical assisting. On Monday, she’ll go to Yarmouth Primary Care to complete 222 hours of clinical work.

Overlock was one of 478 students who graduated with the KVCC class of 2019.

The family and loved ones of Cindy Wanjiru waved excitedly as they saw their soon-to-be graduate marched into the Augusta Civic Center with nearly 300 of her classmates during the college’s 49th commencement.

“I am really proud,” said her significant other, Nicholas Harrington, smiling widely.

Other families felt the same, tucking down butterflies in their stomachs with balloons and flowers they would give to their graduates.

Commencement speaker Barbara Woodlee, KVCC president emerita, challenged graduates to think critically.

“Discern the truth,” she said. “Search for evidence.”

Kevin and Michelle Church, of Dover-Foxcroft, said watching their son Nathaniel Church walk across the stage — wearing a yellow lineman’s helmet instead of a graduation cap — was a proud moment, and they’re excited for what’s next for him.

Nathaniel received his degree from the electrical lineworker technology program, and he’ll start working soon for On Target Utility Services.

“This is realistic of what he wants to do,” said Michelle Church. “It’s good to see him happy.”

“He’s excited and nervous, too,” Kevin Church added.

Student of the Year Keith Giles of Fairfield told his classmates, “Your life will depend on a lot of things, but mostly it’ll depend on you.”

A graduate of the culinary arts program, he gave his classmates a chef’s approach on life.

“Every dish starts with basic ingredients,” he said. “The basic ingredients are then flavored by how you prepared them. Finally, you entice people to eat what you have prepared by plating the food in an artful way that will bring them pleasure.”

Rice, a basic ingredient, might seem the same, he said, but there are many different kinds — just like people.

Next would be the flavor profile, deciding if the rice would become Spanish rice or Asian rice.

“How you prepare your ingredients will determine the flavor of your life,” he said.

Finally, it’s time to plate the dish, and “how you present your life is how people will see you,” he said, “Gratitude is my favorite garnish.”

A moment of silence recalled cass of 2019 member Deon Lyons, of Clinton, who lost a battle to cancer in April. Lyons was a liberal studies student and a Student of the Year nominee.

Casey Henderson, of Waterville, and Kellie Wiswell, of Clinton, received the Aaron Levine Outstanding Student Award. Stefanie Johansen, of Pittston, and Joseph Seigars, of Palermo, received the Fred W. Whitney award. Kymberly Wright, of Madison, and Ryan Schoppe, of Brewer, received the Bernard A. King Award.

The distinguished alumni award was given to Jessica Rose Gleason, of Skowhegan, who graduated in 2012. She is an instructor at KVCC, teaching physical therapy.

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