Publish Date: Fri, 25 May 2018 21:25:00 -0800

Maranda Jiles

Maranda Jiles knows graduating from college is no easy feat.

But it’s possible with a strong support system behind you or – as she called it – “mission control.”

Using examples from an article outlining the United States’ effort to fly to the moon during the Space Race, Jiles laid out the steps it took to become part of Crafton Hills College’s Class of 2018 as she reflected on her educational experiences during the college’s 46th commencement ceremony held Friday, May 25.

“I believe ‘mission control’ is the most important aspect of space travel,” she said. “Mission control is an organization made up of experts and specialists. They are here to help you get into space and land you on the moon safely.

“Hopefully your mission control is behind you today, cheering you on, or they are a part of the amazing faculty behind me,” she continued. “To our family and friends who have supported us financially, emotionally, and physically, the ones who have given us rides, who have listened to us practice presentations and have been a shoulder to cry on when we wanted to give up, or like my mom who chased a bus down in her car when I missed it, you guys are our mission control and we want to say thank you.”

Crafton’s newest class is composed of 700 graduates who earned 574 associates degrees and 342 certificates. Of those degrees, close to 180 – or 31 percent – are associate in arts or science degrees which guarantees admission and junior status into the California State University system.

Of the 700, close to 170 are graduating with honors, with 25 graduates leaving Crafton with a 4.0 GPA.

This year’s class is also quite diverse with 28 percent of students becoming the first in their families to graduate from college or earn a post-secondary certificate. Sixty percent of the class of 2018 are female, while 42 percent are Hispanic, 43 percent are Caucasian, five percent are African American, nine percent are Asian, and 1 percent are Pacific Islander or Native Hawaiian. Twenty-four graduates are military veterans.

Like many of her peers, Jiles herself has plans to transfer to a four-year university. In the fall she’ll head to University of California, Riverside to study public policy. Her goal is to earn her master’s degree in social work and become a social worker in hopes of helping others achieve their own self-worth, she said.

More than a thousand attended Friday’s commencement. Additional highlights included a keynote address by Michael J. Smith, fire chief for the San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians, and a recognition of Crafton’s Professors of the Year: Snezana Petrovic, professor of art, Margaret Yau, professor of computer science, and Scott Simonson, an adjunct professor of music.

View more commencement highlights.