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First Responders Honored at Hill College Graduation

05.13.13

HILLSBORO – Cheers were mingled with tears at Hill College in Hillsboro Thursday, as students accepted degrees and certificates in a combined graduation ceremony. 157 of the 587 graduates from all Hill campuses who completed programs in Summer or Fall 2012, or Spring 2013 walked the stage at the Bob Bullock Sports Center on the Hillsboro campus.

A touching moment in the midst of the joyous occasion came when Dr. Sheryl Kappus, president of Hill College, presented a post humous degree to the wife of a fallen firefighter. Perry Wayne Calvin, 37, was due to graduate from the Hill College Fire Academy, but he made the ultimate sacrifice April 17 at the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas. At the time, Calvin was father of two and his wife, Rebecca was expecting their third child. The packed house of graduates, faculty, friends and family gave a standing ovation to the Calvins, firefighters and other first responders who attended as guests of honor.

Highlighting the ceremony was presentation of the Student of the Year by the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce. Rita Jean Blavier, a graduate in business, was recognized for her community service as well as academic success. Also honored were Juan Ponce Jr. and Raymond R. Ray as Cleburne Chamber of Commerce’s Student Citizens of the Year.