Facebook pixel Accomplishing a Goal that Didn’t Seem Possible – Becoming a College Graduate

Accomplishing a Goal that Didn’t Seem Possible – Becoming a College Graduate

Alyssa Gaddis, STLCC student commencement speaker, class of 2022

St. Louis Community College will celebrate commencement Saturday, May 21, at Chaifetz Arena on the campus of Saint Louis University, marking both small and monumental accomplishments for graduating students. There are as many stories as there are graduates, and with this special series, we celebrate all of our 2022 graduates with stories about five students who demonstrate in their own way what it takes to earn a degree. The fifth story in the series is below; to read all of the stories in the series, which ran May 16-20, please check the STLCC News site. 


“To be a college graduate is the biggest accomplishment of my life thus far because for a long time, I never thought it would be possible.” 

Alyssa Gaddis is speaking her truth, and as the student speaker for St. Louis Community College’s class of 2022, she will share more of her experience at commencement, Saturday, May 21. Ceremonies begin at 7 p.m. at Saint Louis University’s Chaifetz Arena.

Gaddis, 24, attends STLCC-Meramec. She, like her fellow graduates, is achieving goals amid the realities of a global pandemic. 

“Being a college student during the pandemic was extremely strange, for lack of a better word. I believe that every student had a different experience based on their access to resources and home life,” Gaddis said.

When spring 2022 semester started, it marked the first time she attended STLCC in person.

Despite the barriers of the pandemic, Gaddis became a member of Phi Theta Kappa and currently serves as chapter president of Meramec’s Xi Lambda chapter. 

“Attending classes in person for the first time felt amazing,” she said. “Although St. Louis Community College had a way of making me feel involved even when everything was virtual, I was able to get involved with PTK virtually. That experience was elevated by coming back together in person.”

Starting, or returning, to college as a young adult can be overwhelming, yet Gaddis offers insight.

“The biggest piece of advice I can give is to go at your own pace. There is a huge pressure for students to go straight to a four-year university and crank out a degree in that time, but there are more students than you realize who go to community college and start with one or two classes and build from there. It’s a great way to build real life skills and build confidence in yourself and your career path.

“St. Louis Community College didn’t just have a positive influence on my experience, but I truly feel that I wouldn’t be graduating if it weren’t for STLCC. The resources are never ending, and the teachers and staff refuse to let you fail.”

In the fall, Gaddis will attend the University of Missouri-St. Louis to pursue a bachelor’s degree in accounting. She’s been accepted into the Pierre Laclede Honors College.

“Looking to the future, there are a lot of things I want to accomplish,” she said. “I hope to get as far as I can with my education and do the same on a career path.”

Back to top