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Selecting Yuliia Piguliak to be student speaker for Breckenridge and Dillon at Colorado Mountain College’s May 15 virtual commencement wasn’t difficult.

“We chose her because everyone who has ever met her is inspired by her determination and kindness,” said Stefanie Post, academic advisor and senior enrollment specialist.

Yuliia Piguliak

Yuliia Piguliak, CMC Breckenridge and Dillon, earned an Associate of Arts and was the student speaker for the Summit campus’s virtual commencement.

Piguliak, who earned an Associate of Arts degree, is originally from Odessa, Ukraine. She has been living in Summit County for the past five years. She said it was eye-opening to move to a new country and attend college.

“All of my experiences at Colorado Mountain College have been unique and unforgettable,” she said. “Everything has inspired me – from the educational system and organization to relationships and teaching.”

Due to efforts to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus, like most colleges in the country Colorado Mountain College decided to hold a virtual commencement this year. Launched at noon on May 15, 2020, CMC Commencement 2020  will be on view throughout at least the summer.

The site contains videos for seven different commencement ceremonies and information about the nearly 1,200 students invited to participate. Each ceremony features recorded speeches from the college president and Dr. Angie Paccione, the executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education. Each campus’s ceremony also includes a keynote speech from one of seven trailblazing Colorado women (in honor of the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage), well as speeches from a student speaker and campus representatives.

‘Changed my life’

Piguliak said that attending Colorado Mountain College made a big difference in assimilating into her new surroundings.

“CMC is the main factor that has changed my life as a person in a new country,” she said. “The college introduced me to wonderful people who have greatly influenced my life. The college gave me new knowledge, improved my language skills and opened all sorts of boundaries that seemed inaccessible to me.”

Earning a college degree, Piguliak said, helped her find herself. In Ukraine, she studied economics and law, though she was interested in art and the humanities. The degree from CMC answered questions she had but hadn’t been able to answer.

“CMC is a college,” she said. “It’s also a team and family of wonderful, positive and unique people who believe in students and are always open and ready to help and share experiences. Colorado Mountain College faculty and staff will find an individual approach to each person, to help the student find their goal and dream.”