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Largest class yet graduates from Kaplan University with a record of 284

June 18, 2011|By ANDREW SCHOTZ | andrews@herald-mail.com
  • Stephanie Bowins receives her Phlebotomist Certificate from Kaplan University President W. Christopher Motz during the 2011 Commencement ceremony held at North Hagerstown High School Saturday.
By Yvette May/Staff Photographer

The 81st commencement in Kaplan University-Hagerstown's history was its largest, President W. Christopher Motz said.

The spring class that graduated Saturday at North Hagerstown High School had a record 284 graduates.

The school has been around for 73 years, as Kaplan University, Kaplan College, Hagerstown Business College, Maryland Medical Secretarial School and National Legal Secretarial School, according to the commencement program. The school currently holds graduation twice a year.

Graduates Andrew Johnson and Lacie Ryan addressed their classmates on Saturday.

Johnson, of Waynesboro, Pa., received an associate degree in health information technology. He is a medical coder at Medical Account Services in Frederick, Md., and is studying for Registered Health Information Technician certification.

In his speech, he recalled doing several unsatisfying jobs — washing dishes, flipping burgers, cutting metal, selling clothes.

"I always wanted to be a valuable member of a team instead of being treated as just a piece of human machinery," he said.

"Kaplan has given me skills to better my lot in life," Johnson said. "Now, I'm actually in a position that I like. I feel respected, I enjoy my co-workers and I feel I now have a future."

He told classmates that their first job after school might not be the perfect one, but it will be a valuable experience, he said.

Ryan, of Hagerstown, received an associate degree in computer forensics.

In introducing Ryan, Motz said she worked for that degree "to expand her career options and be a better provider and role model for her son," who she continuously encourages to go to college.

She recently became a technical support specialist for The Library Corp. in Inwood, W.Va., and plans to pursue a bachelor's degree, also in computer forensics.

Ryan told classmates that what they learned at Kaplan isn't as important as how they use their knowledge.

"With determination, genuine concern and courage, we can and we must step out of our comfort zone to be role models for others," she said.

The ceremony included performances by a Barbara Ingram School for the Arts jazz ensemble and by Kaplan employee and graduate Sonya Pryor, whose rendition of Natasha Bedingfield's "Unwritten" had many in the auditorium dancing and clapping.

Pryor, of Hagerstown, an online services coordinator at the school, received a master's degree in higher education.

AdvantEdge Healthcare Solutions, with employees in Franklin County, Pa., and Washington County, was saluted as Kaplan University's Employer of the Year.

Motz sent the graduates off with reinforcement and advice.

"You've been given the tools to perform work in your chosen field," he said. "But remember that the most important trait necessary for success in the world of work is the attitude that you display toward your job and toward those around you."

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