BELTON — More than 430 Central Texas College spring graduates walked the stage Friday at the Bell County Expo Center.

The commencement speaker was Killeen Independent School District Superintendent John Craft.

“Congratulations graduates! What an awesome accomplishment for you, your families, and friends. You should all be very, very proud,” Craft said. “Graduation ceremonies across the nation remain symbolic reminders of the closing of one chapter and the opening of another; another chapter which is sure to bring excitement, adventure, and hope.”

Certificates of completion and associate degrees in applied science, science and arts were awarded to the many graduates.

Several graduates were service members representing three different branches. Yellow ribbons were also tied to the ends of the graduating classes’ seats to honor deployed students.

Army Col. Henry C. Perry was a special guest speaker.

“I know for many of you, the steps taken to get here did not come easy.” Perry said. “You are soldiers, husbands, wives, caregivers of families, and working full-time, with the addition of school.

“You are recent high school students who knew what they wanted ... you are adults who waited for the right time; when everyone was taken care of, now it’s your turn,” Perry said.

The youngest graduate was 17 years old and the oldest was 67.

The ceremony also included the first-ever graduating class of Killeen ISD’s Early College High School, a program that allows KISD students to take college courses in tandem to their high school studies.

Several CTC faculty members assisted in the ceremony, and the CTC Chorus and CTC Band performed for the audience.

Special commencement guest speakers also included CTC Chancellor Jim Yeonopolus. CTC Central and Service Area Campus Dean Janice Anderson, Professor Marvin Price, and CTC board member, the Rev. Jimmy Towers.

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