Hundreds of students and their families filled St. Michael's College for commencement Monday. Among them, the family of slain teacher and mother Melissa Jenkins. They were there to accept her master's degree in education.
Monday family, friends and faculty joined the class of 2012 at St. Michael's College to celebrate graduation.
"Members of the class of 2012, we are now forever connected," said senior speaker Michael McKinney.
This year's commencement bestowed degrees on more than 500 undergraduate and graduate students, and honorary doctorates to commencement speaker and MTV creator Thomas Freston, Vermont National Guard Major General Michael Dubie and others.
"After all of the endless juggling of work, school, Facebook and for those of us far from home -- Skype -- the balancing act is over now. We must focus on other aspects of life," said graduate student Kaunapawa Nangula.
The focus the St. Mike's ceremony was also, in part, on graduate student teacher and mom Melissa Jenkins, who was killed before she could accept her degree. Her family took the stage in her honor. "A graduate degree is bestowed posthumously upon Melissa L. Jenkins. Accepting the diploma are her brother John and son Ty," said St. Michael's College Dean Jeffrey Trumbower.
It was a moving moment in a day when a community came together to mark all they had accomplished and to give thanks to those who helped them get this far.
The Class of 2012 marked the 105th commencement in the Catholic school's history.
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