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Some may see double during WCCCD’s 43rd commencement

Left to right: Christopher Manjang, Corwin Hernandez, Courtney Hernandez, Antonia Hernandez

Wayne County Community College District graduating class of 2012 will set a new record in the school’s 45-year history when more than 2,600 receive their degrees and certificates at Ford Field

By David C. Butty

DETROIT — Wayne County Community College District (WCCCD) has been recognized as a leader in the state and nation offering innovative programs. The District takes great pride in educating the workforce of the future and this year has another reason to be proud. On June 2 at 11 a.m. at Ford Field, graduates will receive their degrees and certificates in various disciplines — from nursing, dental, surgical technology and general studies — and the 2012 class of more than 2,600 will be the largest ever in the school’s 45-year history.

Along with the loud applause from the families and friends acknowledging the achievements of graduates will be the exceptional acclaim given as the names of Christopher Manjang and Antonia Hernandez (husband and wife) and their fraternal twins, Courtney and Corwin Hernandez, are read. The family will walk across the stage as each receives their degree during the District’s 43rd commencement exercise. The twins and their mom will each receive degrees in heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) while their dad, Christopher, will be awarded a degree in general studies.

The family credits the District for providing a bright future. “Our education was a great experience and thanks to WCCCD, I plan to further my education,” said Courtney, 16, who is heading to Ferris State University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in HVAC. As for Corwin, he said WCCCD helped him to grow. “I am looking forward to my next challenge, knowing that I am fully prepared.” Corwin, 16, is also heading to Ferris State University to major in HVAC. Both Courtney and Corwin are graduating with high grade point averages.

Father and husband Christopher Manjang, a veteran who completed a six-year tour of duty in the U.S. Navy, said looking back over the years he is amazed at how far the family has come. “We manage everything together, helping out with everything. Having a large family has a lot of challenges in itself, but WCCCD made it easy for us to attend classes around family needs and work.” While he has always had an exceptional drive to learn, Christopher added that attending college was hard at times. “It seemed like we were always at class or picking up the kids, but I think it was a great experience for the twins. They got to see that their hard work paid off.” Besides the twins, there are four other children: Carissa, 14; Carvell, 12; Cortez, 3; and 1-year-old Carina. According to Christopher, “I think we are just your average family and when there was something that needed to be done, we just did it.”

He said his wife, Antonia Hernandez, the children’s mother, is crafty and likes working with her hands. “She is an amazing reader and she has the best learning ability that I have ever seen in anyone. One of her favorite classes at WCCCD was the welding.” Christopher proudly summed up the learning experience for all four family members. “The education we have received at WCCCD has been a great starting point for our whole family. We have grown from the knowledge that we have obtained. I would definitely recommend WCCCD to anyone that is looking to start their higher educational goals.”

David C. Butty, a native of Liberia, is executive dean for International Programs and director for the Wayne County Community College District Study Abroad Program.


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