The Press Newspaper
Seven hundred forty candidates for graduation, including 133 from the Findlay-area Campus, will receive their degrees during the 47th annual Owens Community College Spring Commencement Friday, May 3.
The ceremonies will begin at 7 p.m. in the Student Health and Activities Center.
Robert W. LaClair, President and CEO of Fifth Third Bank (Northwestern Ohio), will serve as the keynote speaker for the event, which is open to the community.
Bradley W. Higgs has been selected as the Owens class representative and will address the graduates during the ceremony. The Toledo resident is earning his associate’s degree in criminal justice.
Higgs grew up in Toledo and was kicked out of his house at the age of 10 along with his three younger siblings. They were homeless and made money washing cars and pumping gas. Eventually, the four children were picked up by the police and placed in foster homes.
At the age of 15, Higgs was adopted along with his 14-year-old sister by their oldest sister, who was 21 at the time. By the time he was 16, he started to get into trouble and by 19 he had been arrested and was serving time in prison.
After serving his sentence, he became reacquainted with religion and changed his life in a Volunteers of America halfway house. Soon after, he enrolled at Owens Community College.
Higgs, who holds a GED Diploma, never forgot his experience at the halfway house and went back to volunteer at Volunteers of America. Eventually, he was hired and promoted by the outreach organization. He is now the Front Desk Security Supervisor at the Chestnut Hill Apartments in Toledo.
“I want to be a light of inspiration to my children and to anyone else who had a past similar to my own. There is light at the end of the tunnel, if you just don’t give up,” Higgs said.
The 35-year-old has a 3.8 grade point average and is graduating magna cum laude from Owens.
“Bradley is a fine young man who has touched me as an instructor. He is truly one of the future leaders in our profession,” said Wayne Seely, associate professor at Owens and retired police chief.
Higgs credits his success to the support and encouragement of the faculty at Owens, especially Seely and Angela Ondrus. The support of his family was also a critical part of his success, including his daughter, Alasha, who is also an honors student in middle school.
Higgs plans to continue his education and transfer to a four-year college or university this fall with the goal of obtaining a bachelor’s degree in social work. Ultimately, his goal is to work with juvenile offenders.