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CLC Connection: Celebrating a successful year and looking forward 

By: Dr. Hara Charlier, Central Lakes College President  

The academic year recently came to an exciting close at Central Lakes College. From captivating musical concerts and thought-provoking cultural events, to the unveiling of inspiring projects and the culmination of arduous final exams, the end-of-year atmosphere was electric with energy and accomplishment. 

The talent of our students was on display in so many ways. The professional prowess of our students in specialized technical programs such as Welding and Heavy Equipment was evident as they interviewed with potential employers from across the state on our campuses. This direct interaction underscores our strong bonds with industry partners and our commitment to facilitating seamless transitions from academia to the workforce.  

The CLC art gallery’s Spring Showcase highlighted the impressive work of our Ceramics students, and our honors students completed their research and presented recommendations about how to improve college to our leadership team. Their insights and dedication are a testament to the caliber of talent that thrives within our special college. 

As we bid farewell to another cohort of graduates during our commencement events, held with pride and pomp in May, we celebrated their academic achievements and their indelible mark on our campus community. Their success is a testament to our faculty and staff’s dedication and the unwavering support of their family, friends and peers. 

Emily Roberts, Brainerd Student Senate president, spoke at our recent commencement events. 

“Perseverance is key. No two peoples’ journeys look the same, but perseverance keeps us on track,” she said. “I’ve been knocked down on this journey more times than I can count or even keep track of, but all you need to do to persevere is to get back up again. When life smacks you in the face, it’s okay to sit down for a bit. We’re human, and we need rest. There have been countless instances during my time at CLC where I only got back up with my friends’ help.” 

In her commencement speech, Staples Student Senate President Bri Adams said, “I am filled with gratitude for the opportunities I have been given. I had the chance to learn about leadership, teamwork, and public service.” 

College is about finding your direction in life and your career. Ray Austin, CLC softball coach and BCC (now CLC) alumnus, said it best during his speech at the college’s special commencement ceremony for his players.  

The classes and instructors (at BCC) gave me a sense of direction, and being on a team gave me a sense of belonging, even a family,” he said. “If, at the end of their time here at CLC, my players have had anything close to the same experience I had and leave with a stronger sense of direction, belonging, and family, then I consider that more of a success than our wins on the field.” 

One of the things that makes CLC stand out above other two-year colleges is its vibrant student life presence. The recent conclusion of our Club Olympics, culminating in the exhilarating cardboard boat races, witnessed an overwhelming display of camaraderie and sportsmanship, with around 100 students participating and cheering on their classmates. Such events are a testament to the strong sense of belonging and community that permeates our campuses. 

Looking ahead to the summer and fall semesters, we are excited to introduce new opportunities for our students to excel and innovate. The arrival of modules for our Meat Cutting and Butchery program ushers in a new era of hands-on learning, where students will gain invaluable skills in techniques such as meat cutting and packaging. Similarly, our Agricultural Crop Production and Management program promises to equip students with the knowledge and expertise to enhance crop yields and drive sustainable agricultural practices forward. We are also excited to introduce the new English Transfer Pathway. 

We understand that financing a college education can be daunting, so we are committed to providing robust scholarship opportunities, such as the North Star Promise Scholarship and other initiatives through the CLC Foundation. These resources are designed to ensure that finances are never a barrier to outstanding education. We have terrific colleagues who are eager to work with you.  

Prospective students eager to explore all that Central Lakes College offers should stop by any of our campuses. You can sign up for a tour on our website. We take pride in showcasing our state-of-the-art facilities and vibrant campus life, and we look forward to welcoming you into our community. 


About Jessie Perrine

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