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Albany Tech graduates 750

Students from Albany Technical College wait to take their seats at the college's Fall Commencement 2011 in the Albany Civic Center Friday.

Students from Albany Technical College wait to take their seats at the college's Fall Commencement 2011 in the Albany Civic Center Friday.

ALBANY, Ga. -- Graduations almost always involve family. The Albany Technical College Fall Commencement 2011 at 7 p.m. Friday added a family twist.

Joyce Williams, clad in cap and gown waiting for ceremonies to begin, exclaimed, "There he is. That's my son." She pointed at Jeffery Haynes, also clad in cap and gown.

It was a mother and son graduation in the Albany Civic Center. Williams majored in law enforcement and her son took on business administration. It was difficult to judge what Williams was more proud of -- her achievement or her son's.

"We're graduating together," Williams said. "That's me and my son."

It didn't stop with the mother and son graduation. Standing next to Williams among the more than 750 students receiving associate's degrees, diplomas and technical certificates, Jennifer Rice smiled and said, "I'm graduating with my husband."

Rice earned her law enforcement diploma and her husband, Cory, majored in heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

More typical of the graduates, Rodriquez Thomas didn't have any relatives in the graduating class. His fans were in the audience.

"I majored in early childhood education," Thomas said. "I want to help youth as much as I can."

Speaking at the commencement Joel Wernick, president and CEO of Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, said he wanted to pass on what he learned after he began the career path.

He said he wanted the students to realize they could have a life of fulfillment in and out of work. Time, he added, is a finite resource and it must be used wisely.

"He who fails to plan," Wernick said, "plans to fail."