Twelve graduates were recognized during the fifth Wiesbaden Education Center Graduate Recognition Ceremony Nov. 21 at the Clay Kaserne Chapel.
Sgt. Trevor M. Gardner played bagpipes, and VIP representatives from all four Education Center schools attended.
Keynote speaker Janice Keller, director of student initiatives and support with the University of Maryland Global Campus Europe in Kaiserslautern, Germany, congratulated the graduates.
She spoke about the 70-year history of UMGC providing education for Soldiers, family members and civilians stationed in Europe and commended the graduates for their hard work and sacrifices.
“There are three things that help you achieve and get you where you are today,” she said. “First one is your attitude. The second is that you’re always moving forward and (third) you’re never giving up.”
Student speaker Master Sgt. Iquinette L. Candler, who was recognized for the achievement of her bachelor’s degree, told attendees about the “long and sometimes rough road” from where she began her educational journey, through several degree changes, the death of her mother and the birth of her child.
She originally set out to be a social worker, then changed to psychology, then transportation management.
Her mother, on her deathbed, made a final request that she finish school.
“She knew how much this meant to me because she spent long distance days and nights helping me with papers and rushing me off the phone to ‘get back on your studies,’” she said.
“In the following weeks ahead, I knew I had to finish my degree,” she said. “I made a promise to my mom.”
She took a previous command sergeant major’s advice and put her educational goals on the refrigerator “as a reminder that the same way I need to feed my stomach, I also need to feed my brain with knowledge.”
A few months following her mother’s passing, Candler learned she was pregnant. She continued classes until a couple of weeks before she delivered. Just when she thought things were finally getting easier for her, she made the promotion list and had to pick up and move.
“Despite taking classes through many challenging times to include during deployments through three degree changes, an MOS change and many other life encounters, one thing is certain: I never gave up,” she said.
She addressed her fellow graduates, saying, “No matter what you have going on in your life, you can achieve anything with determination and dedication.”
See the list of degree recipients at https://www.dvidshub.net/news/353700/graduates-recognized-recognition-ceremony-wiesbaden.