Joseph Gooding, an alumnus of Davis & Elkins College's Upward Bound, delivered the commencement address to the program's 2013 graduating class during the May ceremony in Myles Center for the Arts Harper-McNeeley Auditorium on the college campus. Graduates' families, along with current Upward Bound sophomores and juniors, attended.
Gooding is a 2006 graduate of Pocahontas County High School. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering in 2011 from Virginia Tech. He is currently working on missile defense projects at Martin Space Systems Company in Huntsville, Ala.
Gooding focused his talk on balancing college life with other activities such as a job, hobbies or spending time with friends. He told students that if they play hard, they also need to study hard.
Members of the 2013 Davis & Elkins College Upward Bound graduating class are, from left, first row, Rachel White, Savannah Herron, Sarah Riffey, Layla Teter, Chantella Lewis, Alesa Foster, Nichole Hedrick, Alexis Fanaro and Amanda Ratlief; second row, Sabrina Mallow, Justin Guy, Brianna Arbogast, Contrara Huffman, Keristan Rhoades, Nicole Welch, Ashley Simmons, Sarah Crossman, Tashia Lambert and Mac Halterman; third row, Matthew Hunter, Jaden Reams, Carlise Ayers, Anna Ruddle, Heather Snead, Bridgett Booth, Dustin Kimble, Adian Bailey, Sean Kerns, Mark Parrack, Chelsea Waugaman and Samantha Phares; fourth row, Natalie Green, Clayton Johns and Cody Turner. Graduates not pictured are Andrew Gibb and Morgan Johnson.
Gooding also emphasized to the graduates that they should take advantage of the many opportunities colleges offer for learning about different cultures and making friends from different backgrounds.
"If you embrace, and not reject, the differences of those around, you'll grow into a better, more intelligent person," Gooding said.
The 36 members of the 2013 Davis & Elkins College Upward Bound class are: Randolph County - Brianna Arbogast, Sarah Crossman, Alesa Foster, Natalie Green, Contrara Huffman, Clayton Johns, Sean Kerns, Tashia Lambert, Mark Parrack, Samantha Phares, Jaden Reams, Ashley Simmons, Layla Teter and Nicole Welch; Barbour County - Carlise Ayers, Bridgett Booth, Savannah Herron, Matthew Hunter and Morgan Johnson; Tucker County - Keristan Rhoades, Chelsea Waugaman and Rachel White; Pendleton County Adian Bailey, Alexis Fanaro, Justin Guy, Nicole Hedrick, Dustin Kimble, Sabrina Mallow, Amanda Ratlief, Anna Ruddle and Cody Turner; and Pocahontas County - Andrew Gibb, Mac Halterman, Chantella Lewis, Sarah Riffey and Heather Snead.
Upward Bound is designed to prepare first-generation and low-income students for post-secondary education. Davis & Elkins College hosts two of the high school Upward Bound programs funded by the U.S. Department of Education in West Virginia. The counties served by these projects are Randolph, Barbour, Tucker, Pendleton and Pocahontas.
Upward Bound is a holistic program that encourages students to perform well in high school and strengthen the competencies and skills needed to succeed in college.
For more information regarding Upward Bound, visit www.deubwv.com or call the main office at 800-642-3157, extension 1389.