They stood in line wearing square board caps and flowing gowns, standing with shaking knees and consuming deep calming breaths. Faces were bursting with smiles and overflowing pride. These Muscatine Community College (MCC) students were ready to make that monumental crossing that connects their past to their future careers.  

Are you ready Muscatine? They’ve arrived. 

On May 11, family, friends, and Eastern Iowa Community Colleges faculty and staff filled the Calvary Church auditorium to celebrate the remarkable accomplishments of more than 240 MCC graduates. The Class of 2024 included students of all ages and backgrounds who set out to earn a certificate, diploma, or degree, and achieved that very goal.  

These proud graduates are not ‘future’ workforce; they are the region’s now-workforce. They are skilled nurses, welders, automotive technicians, cybersecurity professionals, and more. They will step in careers, fill open positions, and contribute their knowledge and skills to strengthen businesses right here, right now. Some MCC graduates, like Yashira Ortiz-Hutt, plan to continue their education at a four-year college or university.  

She started her associate’s degree in Criminal Justice in 2010, then again in 2020, and returned to MCC in 2023 to finish. She was job-hopping and wanted to do something different and something better, she said.  

“And to do that I needed an education to flourish,” she said. “And I have. I’ve grown as a person. I have new potential and new strength that I can take with me to the next step,” she said. This fall, she will continue her education at St. Ambrose University on a full-ride scholarship. And she’s set an outstanding example for her son.  

Yashira Ortiz-Hutt
“I hope he sees it doesn’t matter what you have gone through in life; if you have a goal, you can achieve it,” Ortiz-Hutt added. 

For graduate Lilly Clark, MCC was a great first stepping stone. “I was nervous when I first started until I realized the classes would be smaller and I’d get one-on-one time with the faculty. This year I’ve become pretty close to some of them, and this campus has become family,” she said.  

Lilly Clark
“It feels great to graduate. MCC faculty and staff gave me great information throughout the past two years, and I had lots of opportunities to grow, to get out there, and to meet new people,” she said.  

Clark earned an associate's degree in Agriculture Education and plans to transfer to Iowa State this fall. 

While attending Columbus Community High School, Kaden Amigon-Suiter also completed MCC's Junior Police Academy and the Criminal Justice Career Academy. He earned 16 college credits and a certificate in Criminal Justice, which he was awarded at MCC’s Commencement on May 11.  

Kaden Amigon-Suiter
“It was a great opportunity, and I took full advantage of it” Amigon-Suiter said. “Now I can say I graduated college before I graduated high school.”