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Resident delivers speech at Tri-C commencement

by Alison stewart | reporter Published: January 2, 2013 12:00 AM

Streetsboro -- Speaking at the Dec. 20 Cuyahoga Community College commencement "was an excellent experience," said Streetsboro resident Kyle Drachenberg, a Summa Cum Laude graduate.

"It was an excellent experience," said Drachenberg, 28. "I mainly attended east campus but took a few classes at the west campus, as well."

Drachenberg received an associate's degree in liberal arts from Cuyahoga Community College and is now attending The University of Akron.

"I graduated from Valley Forge High School in 2002 and then worked in debt collection for eight years," said Drachenberg. "I then worked for a law firm doing litigations until I got laid off in 2009. Employers always asked me where I graduated from when they viewed my application. I would tell them I did not attend college and I did not receive any phone calls after that. After about six months of this, my wife Rebecca told me I needed to go to school."

Drachenberg went back to school in the fall semester of 2010, where he studied for two years, maintaining a grade-point average of 4.0, making him eligible to speak at commencement.

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According to Drachenberg, Cuyahoga Community College campuses picked three students from each school -- including Drachenberg -- who had a minimum GPA of 4.0. The nine students selected then had to interview with members of the Board of Student Life Administration. They went over what each student would say in their speech and talked about the obstacles they had overcome. The following day, Drachenberg received a phone call Tri-C officials tellin g him he had been chosen to give the speech.

"It was very exciting," said Drachenberg.

In Drachenberg's speech, he described how scary his first day back at school was. He then realized that the people around him were going through the same struggles as him. "I met people from Hawaii to Japan and everywhere in between," said Drachenberg.

He went on to describe how he and his fellow students worked hard together and developed friendships that will last a lifetime.

"Giving the speech was so surreal and something I will never forget," said Drachenberg.

"I want to work with alternative energy, the powergrid, supplying energy to consumers around the country while reducing environmental effects," said Drachenberg. "Though lately, I have been working with an electric car at school, so something in that field might be cool too."

Drachenberg plans on getting his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering at The University of Akron.

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