AC presenting back-to-back commencement ceremonies at Hodgetown

Amarillo College will celebrate the laudable achievements of nearly 1,200 dedicated scholars at back-to-back commencement ceremonies Friday, May 13 at Hodgetown Stadium in Downtown Amarillo.

Eligible to participate in AC’s Spring Commencement are 912 spring graduates and 282 students who anticipate completing their academic requirements this summer.

The first ceremony begins at 3 p.m. and will be a celebration of graduates from AC’s Health Services, Industry, and Public Service communities.

In the 7 p.m. nightcap, graduates from the remaining career communities will be honored: Business, CIS, Creative Arts, Education, Liberal Arts, STEM and General Studies.

If inclement weather leads to cancellation, the ceremonies would be conducted at the same times on the following day – Saturday, May 14 – at Hodgetown.

Continuing a cherished AC tradition, each ceremony will feature a student speaker.

Anthony Diller, a respiratory care major, will address his fellow graduates during the opening ceremony. Diller, 31, is a graduate of Holy Cross Catholic Academy in Amarillo. He worked as an electrician and carpenter for 10 years before deciding to pursue a career in respiratory therapy through AC.

Throughout the latter half of his academic journey at the College, Diller has worked on the front lines amid the pandemic for Baptist St. Anthony’s Health System, where he is currently employed.

“I feel like we are all put here to help one and other, and respiratory therapy, being right at somebody’s bedside, is a very direct way of helping people,” Diller said. “The pandemic put a strain on everyone, not just people in healthcare, but I feel blessed by learning how to treat the effects of cardiopulmonary disease and do my part to help at a time when the need is especially great.”

Osyris “Odie” Padilla, a 2020 graduate of Caprock High, will speak during the second ceremony. She is an education major who has been accepted into Texas Tech University’s TechTeach program, a partnership between AC, the Amarillo School District and Texas Tech. She was deeply involved in extracurricular activities at AC as a member of Student Government, Blue Blazers, Phi Theta Kappa honor society, Presidential Scholars and more.

“School was always my safe place growing up and I can name every teacher I’ve ever had,” Padilla said. “I’ve wanted to become a teacher for as long as I can remember, so I help provide a safe place and guidance for young people like all my teachers provided for me.

“That’s the same kind of treatment I received at Amarillo College, by the way; every single person at the College supported and encouraged me to succeed and excel. AC really does have a culture of caring – it’s not just words – and I’m so honored to have been nominated to speak at commencement.”

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