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TJC celebrates Fall 2023 graduates

TJC grad streamers: Black and gold streamers fly over the graduates at the conclusion of TJC Fall 2023 commencement ceremonies held Saturday, Dec. 16, in Wagstaff Gymnasium on the TJC central campus.
Photo credits: Elise Mullinix / TJC

Perry Burchfield, Associate Degree Nursing major from Bullard.

TJC President Dr. Juan E. Mejia conferred the degrees and certificates on the graduates during four ceremonies held Saturday, Dec. 16, in Wagstaff Gymnasium on the TJC central campus.

“This is the most special day for all of us,” Mejia said in his remarks to the graduating class.

“I have participated in countless graduation ceremonies, but which one has been my favorite? This one. The one that I am actively participating in right now. Why? Because you are here. You are heroic students who have gone through so many trials, tribulations, challenges and opportunities — and now, here you are as candidates for graduation. It is our honor to celebrate you and your achievements today.”

After earning her associate degree in nursing (ADN), Perry Burchfield, from Bullard, plans to work as an operating room nurse and pursue her BSN degree from UT Tyler. Her ultimate goal is to become a Registered Nurse First Assist (RNFA), a nurse who helps to perform surgeries.

“TJC helped me reach the first step of my journey to becoming a nurse and I am very thankful,” Burchfield said. “All of the professors I had during the ADN program made a huge impact on the nurse that I hope to be.”

As the parents of five adopted children, Zona Edwards and her husband, Willie, returned to college as adults to support their large family. She earned her associate degree in English, with plans to pursue a teaching career; and he graduated with a degree in history.

Zona admits that the thought of returning to school as an adult and a parent was daunting, and she fully expected to be the uninvolved student sitting in the back of the classroom.

Jordan Carnegie, psychology major from The Colony.

“I thought I’d be in and out and do what I’m supposed to do, not really establishing relationships with other students. But that wasn’t the case at all,” she said. “I made friends in every single one of my classes. Each one of my professors was amazing, and anytime I had an issue or something came up with one of my kids, they were very understanding.”

She continued, “I did not get my family in the most traditional way. It’s just a blessing because I’m showing my kids that it doesn’t matter where you come from or how you grew up — if you want something bad enough, you can do it.”

Sam Harrison, of Tyler, earned an Associate of Applied Science in network technology.

After graduation, Harrison will begin his career as a telecommunications engineering designer in the Tyler area, while also working on an accelerated bachelor’s/master’s degree program at Western Governor’s University.

“The professors were reasonable and understanding while maintaining a rigorous curriculum,” he said of his TJC experience. “They wanted every student to actually learn and understand the material. They always happily gave advice, help and connections to the workforce.”

According to tradition, a college mascot must keep his real identity a secret until graduation.

Willie (left) and Zona Edwards, of Tyler. Willie earned an associate degree in history, and Zona earned an associate degree in English.

As Jordan Carnegie graduated on Saturday, he was proud to finally reveal to the world that he was TJC’s first-ever Harry the Hawk mascot and even wowed the crowd by performing a perfect backflip as he walked across the stage to receive his diploma.

Carnegie, a psychology major from The Colony, was named TJC’s first Harry the Hawk in Fall 2022.

Sam Harrison, of Tyler, Associate of Applied Science in network technology.

“TJC has given me such an amazing experience,” he said. “Because of that, I’ve dedicated myself to giving an amazing experience to the TJC community for generations to come. I’m proud that I could be the one to usher in the era of Harry the Hawk.”

TJC Fall 2023 graduates and their hometowns

ALBA: Melissa Petillo

ALLEN: Rachael Peters

ALTO: Landon Grammer and Areli Perez-Ramos

ARLINGTON: Alexa Hayes, Moses Ongeta and Joseph Serenko

ARP: Ethan Anderson, Esther Dotson, Kortlyn Hayley, Shayla Lawson, Rebekah Lyon, Rachel Mason, Victoria H. Roach and Alixa Rodriguez

ATHENS: Brenda Arenas Perez, Dewey Barnett, Savanna Benner, Callie Boswell, Timothy Harrison, Michelle Hernandez and Dalton Tracy

BEN WHEELER: Amber Blackmon, Kaitlin Bourque, Laura Cristobal, Alec Edmondson, Sara Mefford, Kaitlyn Rocha and Jose Sanchez

BERTRAM: Abigail Salazar

BIG SANDY: April Bateman, Willie Edwards, Zona Edwards and Trey Gunn

BROWNSBORO: Austin Evans, Carrie Miller, Rebecca Odom, Alyssa Pollmann and Taylor Ray

BUFFALO: Molli Doss

BULLARD: Kaitlyn Chang, Alexander Constante, Leah Davidson, Kylie Ferrara, Sydney Garland, Davis Hanson, Donald Hopkins, Caroline Lee, Lindsay Longino, Anna L. Meyers, Jessica Perez, Aidan Reynolds, Eslendi Salazar, Jensen Shrode, Anja Terho-Streck and Naomi Weaver

CADDO MILLS Brettney Callan and Macie Sevier

CANTON: Courtney Armenta, Paul Crayton, Brandy Grinstead, Jesalyn Grizzell, Enrique Guerra, Steven Massey, Koree Perry, Caleb Phillips, Angela Rodgers and Kayla Waymire

CARROLLTON: Bethany McMillon

CARTHAGE: Jyah Cooksey and Rubi Flores

CENTER: Erick Lucio

CENTERVILLE: Evan Neubauer

CHANDLER: Raelyn Johnson, Jessica Martinez, Cody McFadden, Stacie Puckett, Gabrielle Reed, John Walsh, Sarah Weesner and Adam K. Woolverton

CLEVELAND: Dranalon Burnett

COCHRAN, Georgia: Christy Floyd

COMMERCE: Lashamalar J. Lane

COMO: Kayla Clayton

CRANDALL: Fernanda Roel

CROCKETT: Antonio Cruz and Liliana Gonzalez

DALLAS: Arabia Bradford, Roberto Guerrero, Tae’kiria Jackson and Donnelly Mekondo

DIANA: Avery Holcomb

EDGEWOOD: Desmond Dye

ELKHART: Taylor Clark and Andrea Ramos

EMORY: Ashley Cortes and Carmen Hutchings


EULESS: Tonga Lolohea

FAIRFIELD: William Ferguson

FERRIDAY, Louisiana: Willie McCoy

FLINT: Kiandria Cain, Mary Angelie Fullo, Mary Jane Garcia, Isai Govellan Jr., Taylor Harris, Hannah Hunter, Kellye Johnson, Milagros Lesser, Christine Noble, Stellina Pannitti, Julian Ramirez, Henry Richardson-Currey, Noah Rickelman, Chloe R. Russell, Marissa Spence, Kamie Stenberg, Matthew Wakefield and Dyikerria Wallace

FORNEY: Lauren Esquivel

FRANKSTON: Cullen Jones, Brianna Morrison, Payton Presley, Jessica Rickard, Macy Rosenau and Antonio White

FRISCO: Nicholas Sestito

FRUITVALE: Justin Davis

FORT WORTH: Keondra Bailey, Jose Barrios, Brendan Flanary, Wiktor Golebiewski, Traci Jenkins, William Mobley, Kandyce Richardson, Ariel Robinson and Alexandria Torrance

GARLAND: Natalie Hughes

GATESVILLE: Crystal L. Hodge

GILMER:  Carrie Bailey, Keylan Bowens, Shannon D. Haynes, Courtney M. Lage, Aylin Ortiz, Kimberlyn Smith, Dulce Suell and Morgan Williams

GLADEWATER: Elizabeth Bryant, Karla Hobgood, Alexa Jones, Josie Martin, Josie Mensing and Lacey Parr

GLEN BURNIE, Maryland: Ayanna Bell

GLENN HEIGHTS:  Kendal Perkins

GRAND PRAIRIE: Kamariah Simmons

GRAND SALINE: Jacob Brown, Abigail Cortes, Morgan Coughlan, Hunter Daniels, Jessica Gordon, Brittany Koons, Rebeca Lopez, Gavin Malone, Emily Moreno and Timothy Powers

GRAPELAND: Oralia Leal

GUN BARREL CITY: Anjelica Cortez and Laura Hammonds

HALLSVILLE: Emily Gonzalez, Miranda Middleton and Russell Stuart

HARKER HEIGHTS: Ericka Poinson

HAWKINS: Jade Countryman, Candace Pope and Kylie Ross

HENDERSON: Madison Barrientez, Andrea Cobb, Jacob Kendall, Lenna Moore, Tacara Odum, Taijah O’Quinn, Jamashia Polk, Patricia A. Price and Braylee M. Reneau

HIDEAWAY: Gabriel Fortune and Aaron Maxwell



HOMEWOOD, Illinois: Noah Kimbrough

HOUSTON: William Hatter, Demond Rose and Diasya Simmons

HUDSON, Illinois: Katie E. Nussbaum

HUNTSVILLE: Sydney Frazier

HURST: David Hensley

IRVING: Caleb Russell

JACKSONVILLE: Mikayla Arellano, Alexander Barco, Timothy Blanton, Sarai Castillo, Alexis Chavez, Shawayna Frye, Esmeralda Gonzalez, Tiaundria Hatton, Dinorah J. Hernandez, Lindsey Hernandez, Shuntrevia Horn, Emily Loyola, Sarah Mapes, Madison Martinez, Heather Ness, Estrella Padron, TeOddrick Ragsdale, Yoana Rios, Erizbel Sandoval, Emiley Tapia and Jayanna L. Yates

JEFFERSON: Trent Foster, Samuel Seals and Ma’Kayla Williams-Pierson

JOPLIN, Missouri: Nicholas Ballard

KAUFMAN: Emily Rodriguez

KEMP: Daisy Villanueva

KENNARD: Tracy Cole and Keithrick Griffin

KILGORE: Miranda Cook, Mae DeWeese, Katelyn Smith and Erica Thornton

LANCASTER: Hosia Taylor

LANEVILLE: Kayla Springfield

LaRUE: Yamonica Street

LATEXO: Joshua Owens

LEONARD: Jesse Marshall

LINDALE: Afraiem Abdelshahid, Madison Beaird, Caitlin Bethany, Lacey Bonds, Jermone Bowser Jr., Alyssa Camarena, LaQuandriel Cooper, Cory Crowell, Cody Davis, Dillon Derfelt, Naomi Estrada, Joshua Findley, Haylee Flores, Deborah Gomez, Laura Gray, Tierra Griffin, Antoinette Hardin, Adelaide R. James, Chance King, Ronda Knight, Nathalie Kramer, Brianna M. McHam, Jose J. Ramirez, Mary Ray, Maribel Rivera, Harold Roldan, Victoria Rosas Romo, Jennifer Schalik, Eden G. Small, Rena Stevens, Ashley Thrush, Macy Turner, Levi Watson, April Watters, Alyssa Williams, Kevin Willis and Ashlyn M. Wright

LONGVIEW: Madalyn Alexander, Kayleigh Ammons, Shamaria Blanton, Miles Booth, Daijia Carr, Carlos Davila, Alexia Escobar, John Garcia, Vanesa Garcia, Carla Gonzalez, Tamesha Green, Sloan Griffin, Alexis Hill, Aaliea Johnson, Alda Lim, De’Asia T. Mumphrey, Litzy Pascual, Madison Plasterer, Amy Rodriguez, Taylor Toliver, Jacorey Valentine, Matthew Windom and Sarah Yount

LUFKIN: Ashley Cooper, Taide Cortez, Casey Dallas-Orr, Mia Hall and Ashlyn Redwine

MABANK: Jennifer Dean and Elexis Franklin

MALAKOFF: Laura Taylor-Simmons

MANDAN, North Dakota: Janie Triller

MANSFIELD: Jett D. Schnackenberg

MARSHALL: Noemi Acuna, Orlando Garrido-Cabrera, Yareli Miranda, Maricela Rodriguez and Ruby Vazquez

McKINNEY: Citlali Martin

MESQUITE: Landon Davis-Hall, Blessing Hanson and George Jalloh

MIDDLEBURGH, N.Y.: Kaitlynn Geremonte

MILWAUKEE, Wisc.: Arissa Cunningham

MINEOLA: Abigail Acosta, Adam Blalock, Omar Camacho, Ernestina Candelario, LaTasha Collins, Sarah Cordova, Sawyer M. Littlefield, Katherine Mullins, Jaleesa Pitts, Orion Rogers, Lindsey Savage, Brandy Taylor, Triona Davis and Ebony Griffin

MOSCOW: Julissa Jasso


MURCHISON: Lisa Black and Kirsti N. Harris

NACOGDOCHES: Ja’Quesha Skinner, Martin Vazquez and Kayla Whitaker

OAKWOOD: Morgan Mulson

ORANGE: Alexandra Ramos

OVERTON: Kevin Chaffa and Sarah Groff

PALESTINE: James Bambeck, Laura Cabrera, Emory Caldera, Bobbi Coffin, Jimmy Davis, Tyler Denton, Jonah Ellison, David Harris, Francisco Hernandez Jr., Marysol Ortiz, Brandy R. Ponder, Melissa J. Rigsby, Luis O. Rodriguez, Kealie Soileau, Jessica D. Valdez and Mel’chizedek Williams

PARIS: Scott Bishop

PEARLAND: Eduardo Delgado and Michael Samson

PENSACOLA, Fla.: Cody Brown

PITTSBURG: Justonni Farmer and Keairra Grant

PONDER: Courtney Bridges


QUANTICO, Va.: Katelyn Maylor

QUITMAN: Drew Deatherage, Kaleb Mosley, Hannah Smith, Matthew S. Smith and Emily Wallace

RED OAK: Jaylen Nangle

REKLAW: Crystal Martinez and Michelle Moore

RICHARDSON: Kaylea Campbell

RICHMOND: Jaden Pete

ROCKWALL: Colton Widemon

ROTAN: Cody Cope and Hunter Elrod

ROUND ROCK: Victoria Clark

ROYSE CITY: Tanesha Dennis and Marco Stewart

RUSK: Kelvin Brooks, Donna Chain, Cody DeBord, Kiyuna Foreman, Jacob Goodwin, Jenna Goodwin, Jasmine Harris, Shelby Higgins, Camisha D. Hunter, Jakayrion T. Porter, Yadira Santiago, Marcos Torres and Jazmin Vences

SAN AUGUSTINE: Yessenia Valenciana

SEATTLE, Wash.: Nashelle Gonzales

SEVEN POINTS: Blanca Guzman-Martinez

SULPHUR SPRINGS: Jacquelyn Bocanegra, Shakoja Mosley and Mackenzie Ragan

TATUM: Cristal Azpeitia and Jennifer Pea


TERRELL: Kurt Hall, Jacklyn Ryder and Jennifer Zuniga

TEXARKANA: Alexis Giffin

THE COLONY: Jordan Carnegie

TROUP: Hannah Breland, Jamichael Brown, Kourtney Brown, Kaitlyn Hahn, Kayla Howell, Charles Watson, Ashley Wilson and Jayme Zavala

TYLER:  Eldrin Abston, Elizabeth Adams, Jahade’ Adams, Gustavo Alejo, Tiffany Allen, Giselle Alvarez, Genesis Ambriz, Angelica Aragon, Sammy Arellano, Anna Arellano, Abigale Arteaga, Josefa Artigas, Ka’Darian Asbell, Stacy Avila, Francisco Ayala-Campuzano, Dara Bahena, Jacob Barefield, Felipe Barrera, Laura Barrios, Ralph Bautista, Magaly Benitez, Benjamin Bennett, Kinsleigh Berry, Ma’Niyia Billington, Krescenda Bircher, Y’Vecia Birks, Tambreka Black, Melissa Blight, Alex Bonachea, Courtney Botzong, Kelly Boyken, James Brooks, Kariah Brown, Jessica Bruton, Perry Burchfield, Stefany Burden, Amelia Burris, Anna Burton, Osvaldo Campos, Neyda Cardona, David Carreno, Ellie Carreno, Kristal Carrillo, Norma Carter, Sarah Carter, Keyundra Cartwright, Gracie Casey, Christa Castillo, Jennifer Cervantes, Marcela Chavez, Hannah Childress, Justine Chua, Ayanna Cleaver, Conor Coker, Madelaine Contreras, TaNara Cooks, Stephanie Cooper, Enmanuel Cornelio, Jaqueline Corona, Omar Cortes, Yessika Cortez, Destiny Crayton, Emma Crossley, Aleesa Daniels, Makayla Daniels, Aqueelah Davis, Brittani Davis, Rodrigo De Almeida Rocha, David De La Garza, Jack Delaney, Diana DeLuna, Jacquelyn Dennis, Devin Dial, Gabriela Diaz, Britney Dickson, Kaitlyn Dubose, Angela Duncan, Madison Dunn, Emma Easterling, Dillyn Elliott, Jonathan Ellsworth, Jesse Emberley, Noe Espinosa, Angel Estrada, Michelle Evangelista, Kayla Fenwick, Marlondos Fields, Aaliyah Flores, Elida Flores, Jessica Flores, Christan Ford, Jimmy Fortune, David Frisby, Jillian Fry, Rochelle Fuller, Halle Galbraith, Oscar Gamez, Esau Gandarilla, Angelia Gandy, Nadia Garcia, Rosa Garcia, Wendy Garcia, Javier Garza, Jasmine Geter, Chandler Gifford, Andrea Gonzales, Amber Gonzalez, Gladys Gonzalez, Jose Gonzalez, Veronica Gonzalez, Jenna Griffith, Emily Groff, Jaylon Gude, Gabriella Hammitt, Tyler Hannan, John Harber, Sam Harrison, John Hartmann, Amanda Hayes, Harrison Hebb, Holly Hendrix, Jennifer Hernandez, Karla Jessenia G. Hernandez, Leslie M. Hernandez, Nohemi Hernandez, Osvaldo Hernandez, Solia Hernandez, Maria Herrera, Vianney Herrera, Garrett W. Herring, Dixie Hester, Cristopher Hidalgo, Stephanie K. Hopkins, Jackson Hug, Taylor Ihlenfeldt, Candi Jackson, Devon Jensen, Jessica Jimenez, Timothy Johnston, Chambria Jones, Lakeesha Jones, Karla Juarez, Haylee Kennedy, Travis King, Meghan Knott, Michelle Koranda, Tabitha B. Kozlowski, Joshua Kriechbaum, Tucker Lacey, Amber Ladrini, Michael E. Lagess, Logan Land, Connor R. Landrum, Adrian Lara, Jordyn Lawson, Kari Lee, Emily Lively, Alyssa Llano, Kaleb A. Lockett, Isabella Lofties, Francisco Lopez, Jennifer Lopez, Kelly Lopez, Sandra Lopez, Isai Loredo, Madisyn Loviette, Chyanna Loyd, Edgar Lozano Hernandez, Sasha Lucas, Jose Macedo, Billy Maddox, Brittley A. Maddox, Milka R. Maman, Juan J. Mancilla, Elizabeth Marquez, BreeAnna Marsh, Myisha Marsh, Barbara Martin Moro, Carlos Martinez, Crystal Martinez, Gaby C. Martinez, Jaquelin Martinez Gavina, Treasure Massenburge, Mya Massey, Madison Matlock, Maiana L. Mauga, Lizette Maya, Ken’Tavian McDade, Treylan McFarland, William McNeer, Heldai Mederos, Alondra Medina, Daniel Medina, Omar Mejia, Arianna Mendoza, Danica Merrill, Sharznee Middlebrooks, McKenzie Minor, Isai Miranda, Carina Mojarro, Stephanie D. Molina, Joel Monama, Rebeca Montoya, Jackelin Morales, Ezra Morris, Maci J. Morris, Adrian Mosley, Rosalinda G. Moya, Kassidy Mumphrey, Sydnie Murrell, Jillian Musson, Adizatu Mustapha, Kevin Naylor, Kyla Negre, Jesse J. Newman, Laila Nguyen, Ngoc Nguyen, Collins Nnoli, Harrison Nowell, Angie N. Ochoa, Janely Olvera, Sandra Olvera, Shawanna O’Neal-Thompson, Kylie Ordorica, Cynthia Ortega, Luis Ortega, Jesse Ozorneo, Joseph Packard, Temeshia Page, Hannah Parker, Brittany Parramore, Natalie Penalosa, Jennifer Perdomo, Emilio Perez, Jakob Perez, Tara Perez, Milo L. Perry, Ryan Peters, Nam Phan, Lydnie Pierre, Brayden L. Pike, Marely Pimentel, Meraida Pineda, Julia Ponder, Jayden Price, Gregory Price II, Kiara Pullins, Edgar Ramirez,  Kiyan Randle, Linda Rasugu, Michael Reed, Zachary Reed, Mary Renteria, Isais Reyes, Kaitlynn Rhea, Joshua Richardson, Shelby Richardson, Yeini Rivera Perez, Karson Rivers, Lacy Robertson, Abraham Rodriguez, Dulce Rodriguez, Juan Rodriguez, Olivia Rodriguez, Jennifer Rogers, Juana Rosas, William Routon, Xavier Salinas, Kerrigan Sanders, Riku Sano, Susannah Scott, Abdalla Seni, Yesica Sepulveda, Marlene Serna, Alexandria S. Sessions, Tanisha Sheffield, Madelyn Shelton, Itzel Silvas Romero, Makayla J. Spink, Randall Starkey, Jennifer Stockwell, Fernando Tapia, Allen Tarango, Signe G. Tarmey, Katherine Tate, Jeremiah Tatum, Ashley Terry, Amauri K. Thomas, Deveren S. Thompson, Tammy L. Thompson, Kadaja Tilley, Samuel D. Tinker, Jazmin Toledo, Holland Towler, Hien D. Tran, Juan Trujillo, Charles Truskosky, Matthew Tryon, Ashley Turner, Gilbert Valdez Jr., Emily Valle, Madison Valley, Etta C. Vanzandt, Lesley Vasquez, Noe Vazquez Santillan, Jami Verhage, Joel Villalobos, Alejandra Villegas, Britney G. Villela, David Vo, Joseph M. Walker, Marc L. Walker, Ashlee Watterson, Kaylee Weikel, Courtney White, Joey Williams, Zackary Wood, Britten Woodard, Emily Yancey, Carla Zavala, Carlos Zavala, Cynthia Zavala, Esperanza Zavaleta, Frederick Zielie Jr. and Troy Zimmerman

VAN: Abisai Cordova, Macy Frazier,

 Adriana McLester, Jackson Rainey, Jayden Russell, Abigail Shaw and Jessica Turner

WASKOM: Berenice Vences

WEST MONROE, La.: Justin Bradley and Dustin Ezell

WHITE OAK: Mallory Clinnard

WHITEHOUSE: Nicholas Benedict, David Browning, Jazmin Cantu, Nikolai Dobbins, Dayna Gomez, Breana Green, Lillian Jackson, James Meredith, Vanessa Molina, Cheyenne Mott, April O’Quinn, Kyle Parrish, Samantha Scott, Lynsey Smith, Shelby Smith, Abigail Stafford, Jolane Toups, Miranda Turnbow, Samuel Turner and Cole Wallace

WILLS POINT: Cindy Fernandez

WINNSBORO: Ashten Cantu

WINONA: Zackary Austin, Kienjanae L. Hooper and Kolton Junek

YANTIS: Kathie Choeun

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