Bitterroot College celebrates graduation 2014


HAMILTON, Mont. - It couldn't have been a prettier day for a graduation.

In Ravalli County, there are 26 new graduates clutching diplomas from Bitterroot College University of Montana.

Friends, education dignitaries, and proud family members watched the class of 2014 receive their honors.

Honors graduate Jeff Zilko had little time to prepare for graduation.

He took his last exam in anatomy and physiology Friday morning.

In the fall, he will continue his education at UM in Missoula.

"It just opens the door in Missoula to be able to take the classes there," said Zilko,"where I need to finish up the last of my classes for the pre-pharmacy program."

Zilko is a disabled Air Force veteran, who had planned on a career in the military.

But that changed when the 25-year-old suffered permanent injuries to his feet in the military.

Jaime is his wife of four years.

"I'm proud of him," said Jaime,"I love him."

So does Jeff's grandmother, Frances Gonzales.

"It's a big mile stone for him" she said.

Zilko joins 25 other graduates who worked two years for that precious diploma.

Many have families of their own.

They've balanced jobs and books.

"Employers want to hire those who demonstrate the tenacity, determination and desire to become better at what they do," said keynote speaker, and deputy commissioner of higher education for the Montana University system, John Cech.

Cech praised the graduates for finishing what they started.

Keep learning said the graduate's mentors.

The graduation motto: "Nothing is impossible for the willing."