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Determination to graduate comes at any age

Determination to graduate comes at any age

photo of student Ray Snyder next to a red truck

Central Wyoming College had a wide range of graduates this May with the youngest graduate still in high school and the oldest a retiree; both graduates had visions, determination and a plan to continue their education.

Gillian Fahey

photo of student Gillian Fahey graduating

Gillian Fahey had a busy week, finishing finals and preparing to graduate from not one school, but two. This Riverton High School student donned a cap and gown at CWC’s graduation before celebrating her first educational milestone, high school graduation.

Through BOCHES dual and concurrent enrollment program, Fahey was able to take college credit classes through the high school and was able to attend classes at the college.

“I’m thankful that the high school gave me the flexibility to attend classes at CWC,” Fahey said.

Earning an associate degree in general studies has been in the making for about three years with hard work, planning and rearranging priorities to make it all happen.

“It’s been hard and I’ve had to give up on some extra activities at the high school,” Fahey said. But the hard work paid off for her and helped with her future plans of earning a bachelor’s degree.

In the fall, Fahey plans to attend Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado for their new program in engineering science. She will work towards a background in physics and engineering and will be at the cutting edge of the engineering field with her studies at CSU.

“I would like to work at a firm and consult for clean energy but ultimately I want to be a college professor,” Fahey said.

Her push toward engineering came from her high school teacher Mr. Quayle, who taught her the basics of math so well it jumpstarted her love for it. Fahey said she is glad she completed her associate degree and can focus solely on the engineering program at CSU; it also saved her two years of tuition that would have cost her a lot more being an out-of-state resident.

Ray Snyder

Ray Snyder is no stranger to CWC. As a past instructor at the college in carpentry and applied math, Snyder decided to go back to school as a student to learn about automotive mechanics so that he could learn how to maintain his personal vehicles. This 87-year-old retiree has been dabbling in automotive mechanics for about 10 years and received his certificate in automotive technology this fall.

“I like keeping up on my own vehicles,” Snyder said. “I needed to learn the new technology in cars.”

Snyder has been part of mechanic world throughout his life and worked in the aviation industry as a mechanic, pilot and instructor. He has many certificates from the Federal Aviation Administration in ground instructor, advanced and instrument and an airline transport pilot rating, just to name a few. He taught aviation mechanics for a vocation technical community college in Clark County near Las Vegas.

“I have as much or more mechanical experience as Dudley but not with small engine, automotive or power sports,” Snyder said. “Dudley is an excellent teacher and has tremendous knowledge. It’s a good thing to be among younger people.”

He is a spectacular individual. The students love him. It’s remarkable what he’s done in his life and we love having him around. ”

After receiving his certificate in automotive technology and walking across the stage at graduation this spring, he is now contemplating an associate’s degree but in the meantime Snyder enjoys flying his bi-plane that was built by a doctor/dentist from Elko, Nevada.

From the youngest to the oldest, both had a determination to learn and have proven to be role models for students at any age.