(Butler, PA) An Ellwood City grandmother of three was the most senior of the 596 graduates in Butler County Community College’s Class of 2017.
Kathie Potemra, 63, of Park Avenue, earned an associate of applied science degree in office administration-medical from BC3. She attended BC3 at Lawrence Crossing in New Castle, BC3’s main campus and took courses online.
Potemra, BC3’s most senior graduate by 327 days, says “you can never get enough education.”
The 1972 graduate of Shenango High School also earned an associate degree in information management from Youngstown State University in 1997.
With her degree from BC3, Potemra hopes to land a position in a medical facility.
“That field is booming right now,” she says. “Many offices are still trying to transfer all their patient records into an electronic health system.”
The highlight of her experience at BC3 was “finding out more about myself,” Potemra says.
“When placed with students that are younger than your children, it can become a very humbling situation.”
She has three sons and one daughter and three grandchildren ranging in age from 15 to 7.
“I have a very supportive family who thought it odd when I first announced my retirement-education-new career plan,” she says. “But I couldn’t have asked for a better cheering team. They have listened to me when I couldn’t go another day, pushing me back on track to finish.”
Potemra says she feels all the wiser having attended BC3.
“Physically I feel 63 right now,” she says, “but that pressure will soon go away and I’m off to a new career.”
BC3’s Class of 2017 was the largest this century. Its youngest 2017 graduate was Elizabeth Ann Dayton, 18, of Sharon, who earned an associate of arts degree in general studies and who plans to transfer to Auburn University. She attended BC3 at LindenPointe in Hermitage.
Ranked by Schools.Com as the No. 1 community college in Pennsylvania, BC3 offers 55 two-year career and transfer programs, and its tuition is less expensive than that of 24 regional colleges and universities, the Pittsburgh Business Times reported in January.
BC3 also has locations in Brockway, Cranberry Township and Ford City.
Kathie Potemra, 63, of Ellwood City, was the most senior graduate of BC3’s Class of 2017. Potemra, shown Tuesday, April 25, 2017, on BC3’s main campus in Butler Township, attended classes at BC3 @ Lawrence Crossing in New Castle, BC3’s main campus and took courses online