ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Rock Valley College held its first ceremony honoring students who received their certificates.

“No matter what level of higher education I think it’s amazing for that person pursuing that education to be recognized for their hard work and dedication,” said Angel Rivera one of the honorary student speakers.

Rivera along with 70 other students walked across the stage at Rock Valley College(RVC). They were part of the 600 students at the school who received a certificate.

This was the first time the College has held this ceremony recognizing students working hard in the classroom to complete their education. Some took months and some took years to complete. Certificate Programs allow people with busy lives, financial issues, or other constraints to have an opportunity to expand their education and open new doors.

“It is the first time there’s been a ceremony for the certificates. So I’m getting to share that with all these people. And I know from experience working alongside them how much work they’ve all put into it and how much work I’ve put into it. And it’s nice to see it, you know, pay off and recognition and, you know, for our achievements and everything,” said Joshua Reding another honorary student speaker.

“The recognition is super important for our families, right? The students, I think appreciate it greatly, but I think even more so when I talk to them, as we were getting ready today, they’re excited that their families are here to see that. It’s just a wonderful thing for them to have their whole support group around them today, to see them achieve what they’ve been helping them accomplish over the last month or two or years of work to get to this point,” said Dr. Patrick Peyer the Vice President of Student Affairs at Rock Valley College.

Bill Isham, a welding instructor at RVC, received his certificate for the trade more than a decade ago at the very same college. He spoke to me about seeing his students get the opportunity to walk the stage.

“We didn’t get the ceremony, so I just kind of graduated and went right to work. So it was always kind of like a vision or a dream or whatever to have some sort of a ceremony for the welders and to see them walk across the stage. Today’s been fantastic. It’s kind of a relief and it almost kind of gives a closure to all of us that haven’t been through the same type of ceremony like that,” Isham said.