Nearly 150 total Rifle students complete degrees, certificates fall semester
By Carrie Click
RIFLE – After undergoing brain surgery in 2015, Elide Andrade wasn’t able to speak, read or write. Heather Teague left the military due to an injury, enrolling in Colorado Mountain College to find a new career.
On the evening of Dec. 14, however, both women were among the CMC Rifle graduates who overcame challenges of many kinds to receive diplomas and certificates in front of family and friends.
Andrade was not only walking and talking after relearning how to do both, she made her way to the stage at the Clough Auditorium at Colorado Mountain College Rifle to collect her phlebotomy certificate. Currently working as a medical assistant, she plans to continue her education after December graduation and earn an Associate of Applied Science.
And Teague said, “I began studying psychology because helping military personnel and veterans became a passion of mine.”
Nearly 150 students graduated from CMC Rifle this fall, and 80 chose to participate in Friday’s commencement ceremonies. Joining them, after addressing graduates earlier that day at the ceremonies at the college’s Colorado Law Enforcement Training Academy at Spring Valley, was keynote speaker Terrance Carroll: attorney, ordained minister, reserve police officer, former legislator and the only African-American to serve as Colorado Speaker of the House.
CMC Rifle graduate Maria Aguirre, who received an associate degree Friday evening, is an alumna of Coal Ridge High School. Her goal is to return to her old high school as an art teacher, and her CMC degree is a first step.
Like Aguirre, Carroll is the first in his family to graduate from college. “As a first-generation college graduate, I first want to say that I know the road has not been easy, which makes your accomplishment even more amazing,” he said at Rifle’s ceremony. “However, this is just the beginning. You have a responsibility to look forward to bright tomorrows but to also look back and blaze a path for others.”
Carroll is a graduate of the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law and Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. He also holds a Master of Divinity degree from the Iliff School of Theology in Denver. On 5280 magazine’s list of the “50 Most Influential People in Denver,” Carroll’s entry noted his reputation as a skillful dealmaker, stating he is a “critical and respected negotiator.”