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Jefferson Community College Graduation Is a Family Affair

May 17, 2008
Monica Hasley will be a proud daughter when she watches her father, Wayne, walk across the stage today to accept his two-year accounting degree from Jefferson Community College.

And Wayne will return the pride when his daughter walks across the same stage a short time later to receive her two-year education degree.

The Hasleys of Wintersville are among several families who are receiving degrees during the college’s 39th-commencement exercises at St. John Arena.

Until Wayne accepted a buyout offer from the Mittal Steel Corp. Weirton plant, the 33-year veteran of the Basic Oxygen Plant had never really considered obtaining a college degree.

“I always said if I could get paid to go to college, I would go in a heartbeat. And when I accepted the buyout and learned I could attend JCC as part of a federal retraining program, I jumped at the chance,” Wayne said.

He was enrolling in the accounting program at JCC at the same time his daughter Monica was signing up for the two-year education course.

“We would run into each other in the halls at JCC from time to time. And on some days we would have lunch together. And sometimes I would have an instructor who had taught my dad and they would question the last name. So I hoped he was a good student in that course,” Monica said with a laugh.

They didn’t help each other with homework assignments since they attended different classes. But the Hasleys said there was a certain amount of competitiveness at grade time.

“We are both members of the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society and we will both graduate summa cum laude. But I may have slipped just a little in one class. I have to see what my final grade is in there,” Wayne said.

Monica said she will continue her education at the Ohio University Eastern campus where she plans on completing a degree in education.

“And I am going to start looking for job opportunities. I really believe this two-year degree will open up doors of opportunity for me. It has been very good going to school and seeing my daughter here at the same time,” Wayne said.

A Follansbee couple plan to pursue a career in digital media after they receive their degrees today.

Christian and Melinda Gramnaes are one of three married couples who will graduate today from JCC. The couple are also members of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and recently took runner-up honors in experimental design at the Flash Festival at West Liberty State College. They received a $50 cash prize.

The experimental category was open with entries pushing the envelope in terms of programming, interactively and/or graphic experimentation.

The Gramnaes’ work was titled “Black Rose Metal.”

“We created this project as a brief biography of our three main characters of a fantasy work in progress. Despite the time constraint, we are pleased with the result and hope to develop it further in the future,” Christian said.

Christian noted, “My wife and I were both interested in this subject and decided to attend JCC together. It is nice that we take classes together and can work on our homework together.

“We are not sure at this point if we will pursue additional education courses or look for a job in our field. We are leaning toward something in Web design or graphic design work. Definitely something in digital media,” he said. “We were married a couple of years ago and we pretty much have the same interests. We are both artists, so taking these classes together at JCC was a natural fit for us.”

Also scheduled to receive their degrees today are Tonya and Charles Burrows of Mingo Junction and Kenneth and Samantha Eddy of Jewett.

Nearly 250 graduates will receive degrees and certificates during the commencement exercises today.

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