Graduates of Blue Ridge Community College on December 15, 2023.

Class of 2023 Honored with Record-Breaking Fall Commencement at Blue Ridge Community College

Featured Photo: Graduates of Blue Ridge Community College on December 15, 2023. (Photo by: Benjamin Rickert, Blue Ridge Community College. Photos galleries have been published on Google Drive- check for additional photos soon.)

Video of the Graduation Ceremony

Marketing & Communications Dept.

HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. – In honor of the fall class of 2023 graduates, Blue Ridge Community College hosted a graduation ceremony on Friday, December 15, in a packed Blue Ridge Conference Hall in Flat Rock.

Last year’s 2022 commencement previously held the College’s record for most students graduated during a fall ceremony, awarding 195 credentials to 186 graduates. This fall’s event took the lead with 205 credentials awarded to 195 graduates. The increase continues a trend for Blue Ridge in recent years, as its 2022-23 academic year broke numerous school records for historic enrollment and graduation numbers between the fall and spring commencement ceremonies.

During her opening remarks on Friday evening, Blue Ridge President Dr. Laura B. Leatherwood praised the graduates for their hard work and diligence. 

“Your Blue Ridge education will continuously serve you by preparing the path before you,” she said. “And as you set your course toward many new summits in the decades to come, you do so alongside a strong Blue Ridge alumni network of thousands upon thousands of accomplished members of our community and workforce.”

Emergency Services Director for Henderson County Jimmy Brissie served as the inspiring commencement keynote speaker, comparing the four seasons of a year to the seasons of a person’s life. He spoke of life lessons involving newness, hard work, change, rest and more, while reminding graduates to remember the help they received along their journey.

“I encourage you to thank those who helped make this [graduation day] possible,” he said. “Thank your family, your friends, your teachers, and your staff; each of them made their commitment to helping you succeed.”

The uplifting ceremony concluded after Dr. Leatherwood asked graduates to move their tassels from right to left, a tradition symbolizing a student’s accomplishment of becoming a graduate.

A link to the graduation ceremony video and the College’s photo gallery will be posted on the Blue Ridge website the week of December 18. For more information, visit

Blue Ridge Community College’s Fall 2023 graduates* included:

Buncombe County
Peyton Marie Buckner, College Transfer
Rose Mary Campbell, Accounting & Finance-Bookkeeping I and Accounting & Finance-Payroll
Corie Danielle Chandler, Early Childhood Education
John Granville Draughon IV, College Transfer
Guadalupe Figueroa-Guzman, Business Administration
Amber M. Hartle, Early Childhood Education-Infant & Toddler
Mahogany Ariona Hill, Nursing
Mary Shannon Holley, Accounting & Finance
Franceleste Maiz Gonzalez, Business Administration-Entrepreneurship
Angel Medina-Baron, Collision Repair & Refinishing Technology
Gabrielle Michelle Rathmell, Horticulture Technology
Charné Brianne Tucker, Business Administration-Banking & Finance
Chrystalon Tanzenalia Webber, Human Services Technology-Social Services
Kateland Rose Wilson, Horticulture Technology

Burke County
Elizabeth Ann Holloway, Accounting & Finance-Payroll

Cleveland County
Lindsey Danielle Davis, Cosmetology
Tontianna Shaqua Hopper, Business Administration-Basic

Durham County
Shameka Denise Jones, Human Services Technology

Haywood County
Jackson Christson Owen, College Transfer
Kerry Lamar Pless, Emergency Medical Science
Christian Edward Wilkie, Fire Protection Technology

Henderson County
Jennifer Lynn Allison, Business Administration
Logan Wayne Allison, Collision Repair & Refinishing Technology
Michelle A. Anderson, Early Childhood-Preschool
Barbara Jean Arndt, Business Administration and Business Administration-Leadership Studies
Andrea Woodlee Avery, Early Childhood Administration
Turell Reshay Barber, Early Childhood Education-Preschool
Lecy Angela Mae Jadulco Barticulo, Nursing
Arleny Denitze Bartolon, College Transfer
Ethan Isaac Blankenship, Business Administration-Leadership Studies
Rachel Mendoza Becker, College Transfer
Brittany Anne Bell, College Transfer
Kinsley Lela Boyette, College Transfer
Harrison Luke Bradley, College Transfer
Jefferson Scott Branson, Computer Integrated Machining
Ryan Brown, Emergency Medical Science
Clarissa Lindsey Burd, Accounting & Finance
Desiree Le Cao, College Transfer
Ana Maria Carmona, Early Childhood Education-Preschool
Austin Jeremiah Case, College Transfer
Rebecca L. Chamberlain, Human Services Technology
Shannon Marie Chapman, Associate in General Education
Roxann M. Cole, Cosmetology
Tiffany Marie Cole, Early Childhood Education
Pedro Elias Convento, Criminal Justice Technology
Dealyn Madrone Croteau Handy, College Transfer
Seleste Cruz, Business Administration-Business & Banking Apprenticeship
Jessica K. Dalager, College Transfer
Adriana Diaz Anastacio, College Transfer
Emily Huntley Donati, Surgical Technology
Svetlana Brielle Eastman, College Transfer
Katie S. Eberhard, Information Technology-Computer Programming & Development
Laura S. Emory, College Transfer
Ethan Timothy Emery, College Transfer
Nikki LaCasse Engler, Accounting & Finance
Tiffany LeAnne Faulkner, College Transfer
Rainy Star Fizer, Automotive Systems Technology
Matthew Stephen Garren, Mechatronics Engineering Technology
Hayden Parker Gilbert, Business Administration
Seth Wyatt Gilbert, College Transfer
Jennifer L. Gordon, Associate in General Education
Hannah Elizabeth Grubb, Teacher Preparation
Jeffrey Philip Guazzo, College Transfer
Philip Brian Hensley, Fire Protection Technology
Savannah Brooke Hensley, General Occupational Technology and College Transfer
Christopher Daniel Hernadez, Automotive Systems Technology
Anthony Joseph Hershey, College Transfer
Jadyn Mei Hicks, College Transfer
Paiton Iris Jacko, College Transfer
Caleb Lee Jones, Computer Integrated Machining
Matthew Dawson Jones, Film & Video Production Technology
Meghan Charisse Lindsey Jones, Cosmetology
John Gabriel Justice, Fire Protection Technology
Trevor James Justice, Emergency Medical Science
Hayden Michael King, College Transfer
Paul O. Lewis, Accounting & Finance
Margaret Elise Loescher, Information Technology-Computer Programming & Development
Sulema Lozano Hernandez, Early Childhood Education-Infant & Toddler and Early Childhood Preschool
Michaela Denise Lyda, Accounting & Finance
Andrea Russell Maybin, Business Administration
Casey Sherwood McCraw, Welding Technology
Gavin Trevor McKee, Business Administration
Gregory Joseph McMurray, Criminal Justice Technology
Karen Bowman Melvin, Emergency Medical Science
Augustina Mendez-Agustin, Business Administration-Graphic Design
Christian Mendoza-Aguilar, Welding Technology
Sophia Faith Mervine, Interpreter Education and College Transfer
Julia Mikhail Kamel Mikhail, Pharmacy
Carson Wade Miller, Automotive Systems Technology
Logan B. Mills, Automotive Light-Duty Diesel Technology and Automotive Systems Technology
Cassandra Alaine Mirich, Accounting & Finance
Guadalupe Montiel-Rodriguez, Business Administration-Business & Banking Apprenticeship
Marcus Mooers, Accounting & Finance-Bookkeeping I
Brandon Thomas Morgan, College Transfer
Tessa Maria Norman, College Transfer
Chloe Elaine Ostman, College Transfer
Alan Michael Overturn, Fire Protection Technology
Shane Michael Padden, Information Technology-Networking & CyberSecurity
Aaron C. Patterson, College Transfer
Calvin Dale Pettis, College Transfer
Kayla Maureen Philbrick, College Transfer
Marcia Jean Quinn, Teacher Preparation
Miguel Angel Quintero, College Transfer
Levi Abram Ray, College Transfer
Lauren Elizabeth Redfern, Human Services Technology-Substance Abuse
Phillip Daniel Rhodes, Horticulture Technology-Small Fruits & Specialty Crops
Stephen Richard Ridgeway, Public Safety Administration-Law Enforcement
Dafne Michelle Rodriguez, Teacher Preparation
Beth Ann Laws Russell, Accounting & Finance
Clayton Garrett Russell, Welding Technology
Hollie Adossa Rychanek, College Transfer
Donecia LaShelle Santana, Accounting & Finance
Angelica May Sharpe, Business Administration
Sammir Adam Shwahna, College Transfer
Michael W. Sidorovic, Fire Protection Technology
Shannon Gwenette Smith, College Transfer
Ella Sochia, College Transfer
Arnold Solalinde, Accounting & Finance and Business Administration
Jean Stevens Solt, Criminal Justice Technology
Lucas Lorenzo Stevens, College Transfer
Richard D. Sulo III, Welding Technology
Hanna McKae Thompson, Visual Arts
Jose Guadalupe, Tinoco-Hernandez, Mechatronics Engineering Technology-Industrial Manufacturing Production Technician Apprenticeship
Ginette Trejo-Valdez, Business Administration-Banking & Finance Apprenticeship
Tyler Gregory Whittington, Horticulture Technology
William Ernest Wick Jr., Automotive Systems Technology
Elizabeth Angela Wofford, Teacher Preparation
Bonzie Lilly Yeatman, College Transfer
Patsy Logan Yeatman, College Transfer
Xochil Guadalupe Zavala Sanchez, Business Administration-Basic
Ryan Michael Ziegler, College Transfer

Jackson County
Stephen Richard Morgan, Business Administration
Thomas Anthony Vellanti, College Transfer

McDowell County
Kathryn E. Florack, Accounting & Finance-Bookkeeping I

New Hanover County
Savannah Korine Marella, Teacher Preparation

Person County
Heather Renea Chandler, Emergency Medical Science

Polk County
John Kole Eubanks, Collision Repair & Refinishing Technology
Maylin Elizabeth Fletcher, Cosmetology
Jesus Manuel Pena, Mechatronics Engineering Technology-Industrial Manufacturing Production Technician Apprenticeship

Transylvania County
Danielle Madison Adcock, College Transfer
Khloe’ Anastasia Bickford, Business Administration
Benjamin Nelson Caroway, College Transfer
Alex John Davis, College Transfer
David Graham Galloway, Business Administration-Graphic Design
Kadee Somer Glass, Information Technology-Graphic Design
Lawrence William Herrera, Automotive Systems Technology
Kalie B.K. Jones, Automotive Systems Technology
Donald Ryan Kanupp, College Transfer
Jazzmyn Freya Kitchen, College Transfer
Heather M. Knox, Business Administration-Basic and Associate in General Education
Chaunci Pirhalla, College Transfer
Alexis Policarpo Hernandez, Mechatronics Engineering Technology-Industrial Manufacturing Production Technician Apprenticeship
Kelly Denise Shook, College Transfer
Gabrielle Mae Smith, Accounting & Finance
Brandy Villanueva-Vidal, College Transfer
Amie Lavonne Webb, Accounting & Finance

Wake County
Tamara LaShawn Gathers, Interpreter Education

Rhode Island
Heather F. Harmon, Interpreter Education

South Carolina
Margaret Grace Cooper, Cosmetology
Savannah Jade Goodman, Business Administration

*Only graduates who gave permission to be named are listed above.