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Montgomery College Celebrates Class of 2024

Montgomery College Graduates
The Forster brothers celebrate their graduation from Montgomery College. The three home-schooled brothers who earned their degrees through Dual Enrollment  will attend University of Maryland in the fall. From left to right: Justin, Julian, and Joseph.

Montgomery College celebrated the class of 2024 at its 77th Annual Commencement exercises on Friday, May 17 at the Rockville Campus Athletic Field.

The class of 2024 includes 3,073 graduates from Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campuses, as well as Workforce Development and Continuing Education programs. 

Montgomery College President Jermaine F. Williams addressed the more than 1,100 graduates who participated in the ceremony. He said, “ … Today is the start of a new journey…. The journey will be filled with questions that you may already be asking: What impact will I make on the world? How can my talents inform conditions we have yet to imagine? What learning will be needed in the future to maximize my effect?”

He assured graduates the skills they have learned at MC—many of them outside the classroom—would empower them to answer these questions.

Dr. Williams concluded his remarks with this final charge to graduates: “You have discovered your passion. You have unlocked your potential. You will transform lives. You will enrich the community. You will change the world.”

Among the graduates destined change the world, Jenifer Tatiana Navas Morales, student speaker and Montgomery College Board of Trustees Academic Achievement Award winner, earned a degree in early childhood education/special education.

Forster Family Gets the Third Degree

The Forster brothers, Joseph (21), Justin (20), and Julian (18), earned degrees from Montgomery College this year—and are taking their credentials to University of Maryland in the fall. The home-schooled brothers earned degrees through Dual Enrollment.

In addition, the brothers participated in the Maryland Transfer Advantage program (MTAP), ensuring their smooth transfer to the University of Maryland in the fall.  Joseph (A.A., music) will study communications, Justin (A.A.S., digital animation) will study immersive media design-animation, and Julian (A.A.S., illustration) will study immersive media design-illustration.

“Their journey has been a rollercoaster of joyous, challenging, life lesson-teaching moments that have contributed to the men we see today,” said their mom, Miriam. “They have been blessed with some great professors who shared ‘pearls of wisdom’ beyond the books. We are truly grateful for their time [at MC]—and we look forward to their continued success.”

Born in El Salvador, Navas came to the United States with her family at the age of four. A DACA recipient with limited funds, she entered the workforce after graduating from Magruder High School. “It was not until I began taking early childhood education courses through the Workforce Development and Continuing Education Division at MC that I was introduced to the world of opportunities this institution has to offer,” she said.

“Thanks to the guidance of Dr. Mejia-Cardenas, along with Dr. Pruneda-Hernandez, I was able to join the Early Care and Education Initiative Pathway Scholarship family.”

Jenifer Tatiana Navas Morales at Commencement

Jenifer Tatiana Navas Morales, student speaker and Montgomery College Board of Trustees Academic Achievement Award winner, earned a degree in early childhood education/special education.

Navas found her footing; sought help from the Writing, Reading, and Language Center; Phi Theta Kappa; and the SHAW Center; and connected with alumni who shared her passion. She graduated with a 4.0 grade point average—and will transfer to Towson University’s early childhood education program at the Universities at Shady Grove.

The other Board of Trustees Academic Excellence awardees include:

  • Charles David Thompson, an environmental horticulture and sustainable agribusiness major, who graduated with a 3.9 grade point average. He has since transferred to York College (PA), where he majors in environmental horticulture. An Eagle Scout, Thompson will intern with the National Park Service this summer.
  • Joanee Catalina Dias, a criminal justice major and member of Phi Theta Kappa, graduated with a 3.9 grade point average. She was a member of the Montgomery Scholars honors program. She wants to be the voice for marginalized members of society. She hopes to obtain a juris doctorate and focus on public advocacy work.
  • Monica Selena Escalante Escobar, an electrical engineering major and member of Phi Theta Kappa, graduated with a 3.86 grade point average. Born and raised in El Salvador, she moved to the United States in 2012. She is a member of Montgomery Scholars and the Southern Management Leadership Program. She will transfer to University of Maryland for a bachelor’s in electrical engineering.
  • Robert Donald Walsh completed a two-year apprenticeship program as an automotive technician, graduating with a 3.8 grade point average. He was enrolled in the Washington Area New Automobile Dealers Association apprentice-related instruction program. A two-year employee of Jim Coleman Cadillac, he will assume the role of automotive technician. He is an Eagle Scout and participates in events promoting awareness and social acceptance for people with disabilities

Reflecting Montgomery County’s diversity, MC’s graduating students are Asian (16%), Black/African American (23%), Hispanic (26%), white (21%), multiracial (4%), and international (10%). The graduating class also encompasses a wide variety of ages: 3% are under 18 years old, 11% are 18 to 19 years old, 46% are 20 to 24 years of age, and 30% are over the age of 35. Sixty-eight percent of the graduates are MCPS high school graduates. And, the class of 2024 drew students from nearly 120 countries.