Goal setting and believing in one’s self was the message delivered by East Central Community College graduating sophomore LaTia Peavy of Carthage, who was the featured speaker at the College’s 83rd Commencement held Saturday, May 12, 2012, at the Neshoba County Coliseum in Philadelphia. Peavy, a Dean’s List scholar and pre-med major recently selected to receive a Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship, was among the approximately 410 graduates who were presented diplomas by retiring ECCC President Dr. Phil A. Sutphin. Peavy, who was also a member of Theta Xi Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year colleges and served as 2011 Homecoming Queen, began her remarks by asking the following question: “Is it not such a great feeling to know that all of our hard work and dedication put into long days of lectures and long nights of study was not in vain?” The Carthage High School graduate said reaching the graduation milestone “was not easy…but we were determined and stayed focus; however, we cannot let this be the end. We must continue to strive toward excellence in all our future endeavors.” Peavy stressed the importance of goal-setting and related a story about a young man who purchased a bus ticket in hopes of finding a job away from his hometown. When asked the location of his destination, he replied to the ticket clerk, “I don’t know; just give me a ticket to somewhere.” “The moral of the story,” Peavy continued, “is that if you do not know where you are going, you cannot take the steps necessary to get there.” Peavy said a mistake many people make is that they fail to determine what they really want to accomplish in life and outline a plan to do so. “I feel compelled to stress the importance of setting goals, which leads me to point out some basic questions many of us have been presented in our lives….such as ‘Who?’, ‘What?’, ‘When?’, ‘Where?’, ‘Why?’, and ‘How?’” Regarding the “Who” question, Peavy remarked, “Who we are leads to what we want to accomplish in our lives. As the old saying goes, ‘If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.’ Therefore, we must strive to accomplish more, even when our goals are reached.” She said “What?” is the “trickiest” of the questions. “It is important to look toward the future instead of focusing wholly on what we will do today,” she explained. Peavy said “When?” “is now….everything we do now determines our future success. Procrastination usually leads to more work, so being aware of When we plan to succeed will keep us balanced and even lighten our loads.” “The ‘Where?’” Peavy said, “will be determined by what we have done up to this point to prepare us for events to come. Where will we end? Where must we go to achieve? Wherever we go, it is never too far away to always keep our homes in our hearts and remember the lessons we have learned from our families, not excluding our East Central family.” Peavy remarked the “Why?” question “is one we will never stop asking. This will only keep us growing. We may never know exactly why we work toward certain goals until we have actually reached them and gained a sense of pride in ourselves.” As to “How?” Peavy stated, “How do we want to achieve? Only we can answer this question. We should always believe in ourselves and remember that with determination no goal is unattainable.” “Now that we have these questions in mind,” Peavy said, “we should work to incorporate them into our lives. After we leave here, we should take time to consider what goals we have set in our lives…and ask ourselves if we worked our hardest to reach them? And, what goals have we set for the future?” She concluded her remarks with the following statement: “If we, the East Central Community College Class of 2012, believe in ourselves and are willing to put forth the effort to set and achieve goals, we can certainly have a positive effect on our families, communities, and the rest of the world, for nothing we do can change the past….but everything we do changes the future.” In addition to Peavy, other graduating sophomores who participated in the commencement program were Raychal Reed of Louisville, invocation; Dustin Cullen of Carthage, benediction; and Polly Vaughn of Decatur and Matthew Dempsey of Louisville, who performed a musical selection, “For Good.” Dr. Lavinia Sparkman, retiring Vice President for Instruction, presented candidates for graduation to Dr. Sutphin.