Graduate Essays

Graduation Cap

A few ECC graduates to talk about what this achievement means to them

Graduate stories and more


See all of our graduation essays in the Feature Stories section.

Evelin Gonzalez, student speaker for the Spring 2022 Career and Technical Programs Commencement Ceremony
Achievements | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 05/23/2022

Evelin Gonzalez Tapia: I am standing in front of you because I have received help, encouragement, a

Thank you Dr. Gregory Robinson, and ECC faculty and trustees. It's my honor today to deliver the commencement address for my incredible fellow ECC classmates. Also, I want to welcome peers’ families, and faculty to this graduation day at Elgin Community College. Please note that each one of you has made a positive impact on each one of us who is graduating today.

Dylan Mejdrich, student speaker for the Spring 2022 University Transfer Commencement Ceremony
Achievements | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 05/23/2022

Dylan Mejdrich: ECC has been an opportunity, a blessing, a second chance, and a place to put my hea

I want to thank everyone for coming to graduation. I haven’t seen this many happy people in quite some time. It is humbling to be able to address and represent a group with so many different stories to tell.

Claudia Robles, Spring 2022 ECC Graduate
Achievements | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 05/19/2022

Claudia Robles: ECC gave me the opportunity to mature and learn

When I was a high school student, I never thought I would be able to say I am vice president of student government, the social media coordinator for the Human Services Club, an Elgin Community College honors graduate, and transferring to my dream school, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Karina Hernandez Flores, Spring 2022 ECC Graduate
Achievements | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 05/18/2022

Karina Hernandez Flores: Whatever you want from life, you will be capable of reaching it and inspir

Did you have a chance to stop and think about what you want from life? It might be one of the most challenging questions that someone can answer. As a mother of eight children, my immediate answer is “to be a good mom,” but a question behind that answer resonated in my mind: “How to become that good mom that my children need?” Then I realized that what I needed was to understand who I am.

Jenna Manzano, Spring 2022 ECC Graduate
Achievements | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 05/18/2022

Jenna Manzano: ECC has taught me to be proud of who I am and what I have done

Elgin Community College was a surprise in many different ways. I hadn’t considered applying here until a few weeks before school started in 2020. My future was uncertain due to the global pandemic and family complications, but ECC provided me with normalcy.

Patrick Able, Spring 2022 ECC Graduate
Achievements | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 05/16/2022

Patrick Able: For the first time in my life, I am not directionless, and I have ECC to thank for th

I never considered getting an education past high school was something meant for me. For ten years, I was in and out of Elgin Community College multiple times, trying different things. I reapplied to ECC one last time, and it has been one of the best academic experiences of my life.

Madeleine Ryan, Spring 2022 ECC Graduate
Achievements | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 05/16/2022

Madeleine Ryan: At ECC, I finally found my future in nursing

Growing up, I was never a kid that knew what they wanted to be when they grew up. I went through phases of wanting to be a teacher, a doctor, a vet, a ballerina; all the things little girls say they want to be. It wasn’t until my high school AP biology class that I really started to fall in love with human anatomy and the medical field.

Kristine Darvin, Spring 2022 ECC Graduate
Achievements | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 05/16/2022

Kristine Darvin: ECC truly lives by its motto of helping students find success

The past four years of being a student have not been easy. I started my journey in the spring of 2019, and since then, many things have changed in the world of academics.

Hailey Hall, Spring 2022 ECC Graduate
Achievements | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 05/16/2022

Hailey Hall: Pursue your passion no matter how hard, difficult, or impossible it may seem

It has been a great journey attending Elgin Community College for the last two years. ECC has allowed me to enhance not only my educational career but also my career in softball. I have played softball for the last 15 years, and I was not sure if I would be able to continue playing once I reached the collegiate level.

Eduardo Chaidez, Spring 2022 ECC Graduate
Achievements | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 05/16/2022

Eduardo Chaidez: To ECC, thank you for the memories

Between 2013 and 2022, I've changed majors eight times, been to three universities, earned an associate in science, completed over 100 credit hours, have a cumulative GPA of 2.8, earned my industrial maintenance certificate, and will start my career repairing kidney transporters. During my time at Elgin Community College, I was part of the Anime Club.

Diana Rodriguez, Spring 2022 Graduate
Achievements | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 05/16/2022

Diana Rodriguez: I’m deeply grateful for all that ECC has done for me

When I began my journey at Elgin Community College, graduating with my Associate in Science appeared to me like an impossible goal to achieve. I felt this way for many reasons, and it seemed that there were more reasons why I would not make it than reasons why I could.

Cassie Stevens, Fall 2021 ECC Graduate
Achievements | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 12/16/2021

Cassie Stevens: Thanks to ECC, I'm finally starting my dream career

I have wanted to be a nurse for as long as I can remember. In 2018, the time was right for me to go back to school. I investigated a number of schools, and found my home at ECC.

Justin Martinez, Fall 2021 ECC Graduate
Achievements | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 12/03/2021

Justin Martinez: I leave ECC with a sense of immense pride and gratitude

Since high school, I have had a passion for engineering and have always planned to get a degree in that field. However, despite being told multiple times that taking a gap year was a bad decision, I wasn’t sure I was financially ready for college. In the end, I decided to take a gap year to work and build up my finances.

Juan Chavez, Class of 2018, is the guest speaker for the 2021 High School Equivalency Graduation Ceremony.
Achievements | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 05/26/2021

Juan Chavez: My story is proof that ECC is a place where people can come and fight for their dreams

We all have different reasons to learn English, to get our GED diploma, but we have in common something great, which is our desire to change our lives and the lives of those around us. I hope that my story inspires and motivates you to keep moving forward and keep fighting for your goals and dreams.

Taryn White, student speaker for the Spring 2021 Career & Technical Programs Commencement Ceremony
Achievements | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 05/26/2021

Taryn White: Find the right path and fight to stay on it

Taryn White, student speaker for the Career & Technical Programs Commencement Ceremony, took a risk that paid off big for her future.

Zain Alsalhani, student speaker for the Spring 2021 University Transfer Degree Commencement Ceremony.
Achievements | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 05/26/2021

Zain Alsalhani: We have been equipped with the necessary tools to be able to overcome anything

Zain Alsalhani reflects on the past year for the 2021 Spring University Transfer commencement ceremony.

Larissa Scott, Spring 2021 ECC Graduate
Achievements | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 05/20/2021

Larissa Scott: ECC challenged me to strive for excellence and put my best foot forward

After four years in the Navy, Larissa Scott turned to ECC to help find her path forward.

Ashley Freeman, Spring 2021 ECC Graduate
Achievements | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 05/19/2021

Ashley Freeman: ECC Let Me Explore My Career Options

At ECC, Ashley Freeman was able to explore here healthcare passions and find the right career path for her.

Sandra Djou, Spring 2021 ECC Graduate.
Achievements | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 05/18/2021

My Immigrant Story is a Success Thanks to ECC

Shortly after immigrating from Cameroon, Sandra Djou started her ECC journey as an English as a Second Language. Now, she's graduating with her associate degree and heading to her bachelor's.

Linda Kooper, Spring 2021 ECC Graduate.
Academics | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 05/17/2021

Linda Kooper: It's never too late and you are never too old to follow your passion

Linda Kooper knows first hand that you're never too old to follow your dreams.

Taylor Vitacco, Spring 2021 ECC Graduate.
Achievements | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 05/14/2021

Taylor Vitacco: No place strives for student success like ECC

Dual Credit Graduate Taylor Vitacco reflects on her journey at ECC.

Katherine Castiglione, Spring 2021 ECC Graduate.
Achievements | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 05/13/2021

Katherine Castiglione: ECC opened new doors to my future

Being homeschooled through high school, ECC helped Katherine Castiglione smoothly transition to college.

Leslie Miranda, Spring 2021 ECC Graduate.
Achievements | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 05/11/2021

Leslie Miranda: Never underestimate your potential

Spring 2021 Graduate Leslie Miranda reflects on her time at ECC.

December 2020 Graduate Najmu Sahar.
Achievements | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 12/11/2020

Najmu Sahar: ECC is a great place to start

Graduate Najmu Sahar knew she was not ready for a four-year college. She turned to ECC to start her college experience while she figured out her path. Read more about how ECC put her on the right path towards her goals.

December 2020 Graduate Wendy Rivera.
Achievements | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 12/11/2020

Wendy Rivera: At ECC, I finally felt like I belonged

Wendy Rivera never imagined graduating with high honors or going on to pursue a bachelor's degree. Read how ECC shaped her into who she is today.

December 2020 Graduate Robert Phelan.
Achievements | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 12/11/2020

Robert Phelan: ECC gave me the confidence I needed

Robert Phelan returned to school after seven years to move his education forward. Read more about how ECC helped him develop the confidence to pursue his dreams.

December 2020 Graduate Danielle Lauritzen.
Achievements | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 12/11/2020

Danielle Lauritzen: ECC let me grow into who I am today

In high school, Danielle Lauritzen was lucky enough to know what she intended to make of her life. At ECC, she was able to grow and come to understand her place in this world through the work she had a passion for - teaching.

December 2020 Graduate Lisbeth Castillo.
Achievements | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 12/11/2020

Lisbeth Castillo: ECC taught me to embrace challenges at opportunities to grow

Experiencing culture shock and learning English as an immigrant moving from Guatemala at age 14 significantly impacted Lisbeth Castillo's life. Read about her how ECC opened doors to her brighter future.

December 2020 Graduate Ruthie Chae.
Achievements | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 12/11/2020

Ruthie Chae: Pursue your dreams, no matter what

Career and Technical Programs ceremony student speaker Ruthie Chae reflects on her time at ECC.

December 2020 Graduate Kori Stoll
Achievements | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 12/11/2020

Kori Stoll: Keep going, because it's worth it in the end

University Transfer Degree Ceremony Speaker Kori Stoll reflects on her time at ECC.

Liam Coleman, class of 2020
Achievements | Commencement | Student Profile
Published 05/20/2020

Liam Coleman: ECC is a bright choice for a bright future

I was able to transition from high school to college in a fun, friendly, and engaging environment that allowed me to work towards my associate degree whilst giving me time to figure out and explore what I wanted to do with my life. I cannot recommend ECC enough to prospective students, and can personally attest to ECC being a bright choice for a bright future.