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 Clinton Community College (CCC) students were ready to make that monumental crossing that connects their past to their future careers.  

Are you ready Clinton? They’ve arrived. 

On May 13, family, friends, and Eastern Iowa Community Colleges faculty and staff filled the Clinton High School Yourd Gymnasium to celebrate the remarkable accomplishments of more than 270 CCC 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, paraeducators, automotive technicians, cybersecurity professionals, and more. They will step into careers, fill open positions, and contribute their knowledge and skills to strengthen businesses right here, right now.  

Among those graduates stands Elliot Beck. His education at CCC began in high school when he enrolled in the college’s Welding Career Academy program, earning a 16-credit Welding Certificate at no cost. Now, just a year and a half later, Beck has earned two additional degrees from CCC — a Welding Diploma and a Welding Associate in Applied Science (AAS) Degree. 

Elliot Beck with parents at graduation
“From the moment I took my first welding class my sophomore year of high school, I just fell in love with it,” said Beck. “With welding, I can just put my hood down and everything else just melts away. I’m able to focus on me and the task at hand.” 

Beck's experience at CCC, balancing full-time work with online coursework and hands-on learning in state-of-the-art welding labs, honed his time management skills, preparing him for his aspirations as a traveling pipefitter. 

“CCC helped me advance who I am as a person,” said Beck. “Graduating feels really bittersweet. I’m going to miss my instructors and classmates, but at the same time, it’s awesome to have accomplished this. It’s something I can take pride in.” 

For Gideon Mussmann, choosing CCC is a family tradition. His grandmother, father, mother, and sister all graduated from college. His grandmother even working at the college as a custodian for more than 20 years. 

“I’ve seen multiple people walk across the stage, but this is now my time do it,” said Mussmann. “It feels so surreal. The impact that this school has had on my family, and my family on it.” 

With an Associate in Arts (AA) Degree in hand, Mussmann will look back on his time at CCC fondly. It’s a place that has felt like home to him. A place in which he was able to grow and feel a sense of belonging.  

Gideon Mussman receiving degree
“In high school, I was easily distracted. Unable to focus and get stuff done. But as soon as I stepped on campus, something in my brain just clicked. The community-like atmosphere made me realize that I could do it,” said Mussmann. “Overall, my experience at CCC has made me more efficient and open up as an individual. I’ll forever sing praises of CCC.” 

Taylor McCluskey's path to graduation was marked by personal loss and perseverance. Despite facing grief and raising two kids as a single mother, McCluskey completed her AA Degree at CCC in December 2023. Today, she continues her education as a psychology major at St. Ambrose University, attributing her success to CCC's support and encouragement. 

Taylor McCluskey
“CCC helped me be more comfortable and learn about different barriers—things that may look like a barrier, but actually aren’t,” she said. “This was all worth it. My kids are going to see that no matter how hard things get, as long as you push, you can do it.”