While their classmates were walking in the 2015 Commencement ceremony on May 15, Alexandra Clayton and Courtney Semkewyc were halfway across the country, battling for a national softball championship.
After taking fifth place in the Division III three tournament, Clayton and Semkewyc returned on May 18 to accept their associate degrees in a special ceremony in front of friends, family and teammates.
Brookdale President Dr. Maureen Murphy and Athletic Director Shawn Noel joined the graduates in a ceremonial procession in the Collins Arena, then took the stage to congratulate the honorees for their successes on and off the field.
Murphy thanked the graduates for helping bring home two consecutive Region XIX championships while setting a high bar for academic excellence, encouraging them to continue to make Brookdale proud in the future.
Noel echoed those sentiments, detailing Clayton and Semkewyc’s awe-inspiring list of accomplishments during their time at Brookdale.
“Celebrations of achievements are no stranger to either one of today’s graduates,” he said. “These are two very dedicated, hard-working and decorated student-athletes.”
Clayton, affectionately referred to as Chickie, was a two-year starter on the Brookdale women’s softball team. An academic All-Region and All-GSAC honoree, she is currently in the running for an NJCAA Pinnacle Award for Academic Excellence, which will be awarded in late May. She graduated with a degree in criminal justice, earning a perfect 4.0 GPA.
In addition, Clayton served as co-chair to the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and spearheaded many community relations initiatives including the Toys 4 Tots Dodge Ball tournament, Make-A-Wish Pie-A-Pro day and campus-wide clean-up efforts.
Semkewyc also set a high standard for excellence, graduating with a degree in engineering and 3.99 GPA and a degree in Engineering. Semkewyc was an All-Region softball player and an academic All-Region and All-GSAC honoree. She is up for the NJCAA’s Exemplary Academic Achievement award, which will be announced later in May.
Clayton plans on continuing her education at the Stevens Institute of Technology.
“Courtney and Chickie: for your unbelievable representation of Brookdale Community College, we thank you and we wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors,” Noel said.
For more information on the Brookdale Athletics program, click here.
Check out more photos of the commencement ceremony here.