Updated: May 17, 2014 at 8:26 pm
About 350 students who took part in Pikes Peak Community College's graduation ceremonies Saturday were sent off with a pair of messages: Become good ancestors and meet change head-on.
"This goal of becoming a good ancestor has helped me focus on important things in life," said Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, who was the keynote speaker. "So I encourage you to ask yourself: 'What will it take for your descendants to judge you as being a good ancestor?' "
Suthers urged graduates to use their education to help them be better fathers, mothers, spouses, friends, workmates, volunteers and community members.
"Each and everyone one of you can make a huge difference," he said. "A better world starts with each individual. You have the tools to succeed, to making a path to becoming a good ancestor."
He also told graduates to be thankful to their friends and family, who supported them during their quest for diplomas, and to the faculty that guided them.
The ceremonies were held at New Life Church.
The auditorium was packed, with some standing along the back of the auditorium.
It started with the processional - students in their gowns entering the auditorium in a long line, family members and friends taking photos and videos.
Some students were greeted with cheers as they sauntered down the aisle.
Ahead of them said Mark Giles, student body president, lives change.
But they've been there before.
He told graduates that when they decided to attend college, they faced change. That change was in front of them again, as they graduate into a new life with their degrees.
"I want to encourage each and everyone of you today and ask that you meet each new challenge in your life head-on with open arms," Giles said.
It will be scary, he warned.
"But each one of you is up to the challenge," he said. "How do I know this? Because you were in the exact same position when you made your decision to enroll at Pikes Peak Community College. Over the past few years you have managed to overcome every challenge and change in the normal routine to reach this point where you are today."