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Columbus State’s first in-person commencement set for Dec. 17

Campus News | Friday, December 17, 2021

Columbus State Community College will celebrate its first post-pandemic in-person commencement this week. Graduates from the current and previous semesters in 2020 and 2021 have been invited to participate in one of two ceremonies. More than 900 students will earn degrees for Autumn Semester. In addition, an estimated 440 previous graduates have indicated they also plan to attend commencement.

Twenty-one-year-old Sajeda Altaani emigrated to the United States five years ago. The Dublin Scioto graduate spent two years in Columbus State’s English as a Second Language program before working on her Associate of Science degree. “It has been the best three years of my life,” she says. “I obtained a medical assisting degree from Columbus State while taking classes for my associate degree.” 

Altaani plans to transfer to The Ohio State University to pursue a biochemistry degree before applying to medical school.

Selina Reyes Flowers, 23, is a first-generation college student who did not expect to go to college. “I was a teen mother,” says Flowers, “who genuinely thought that higher education wasn’t ‘for me’ due to the huge amount of responsibility and time it takes to get a degree.” 

All her hard work has paid off. This month, she will receive her Associate of Science degree. After that, Flowers plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree at The Ohio State University before medical school. 

Keri Kopechek, 19, will receive her Associate of Arts in psychology. And while it’s common for one sibling to follow another on a path through Columbus State, Kopechek’s family may hold the record. She is the tenth of ten brothers and sisters in a row who have attended classes at the College. And she is the third to earn a full associate degree. In addition, seven of her siblings transferred from Columbus State on their paths to earning bachelor’s degrees. 

Kopechek was a home-schooled high school student who earned her first credits taking classes on the Columbus Campus as part of Ohio’s College Credit Plus program. Next, she plans to apply to the Occupational Therapy Assistants program on Ohio State’s Marion Campus.

There will be two combined commencements on Friday, December 17 at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the Celeste Center on the Ohio State Fairgrounds, 717 East 17th Ave., Columbus. The ceremonies will both be available on a livestream.

Christie Angel, president and CEO of the YWCA Columbus, will be the commencement speaker. 


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