Commencement speaker challenges status quo


Annette Meza

Seward County Community College will hold the 48th annual commencement ceremony on May 4 at 10 a.m. in the Greenhouse. Special guest, senior branch manager at Sunflower Bank of Liberal, Jonny Vergara, will be giving a speech as SCCC president Ken Trzaska asked him to do so.

Michelle Mattich, Copy Editor

The class of 2019 will take the stage this Saturday at Seward County Community College’s 48th annual commencement ceremony with nearly 400 graduates. Jonny Vergara will address the graduates as this year’s commencement speaker. 

Vergara graduated from Liberal High School in 2013 and attended SCCC as a computer sciences major. While working at Sunflower Bank part time, he realized that working there was his true calling. He is now senior branch manager there.

“My experience at SCCC was a time where I got to know myself and what I wanted to do in the next few years. I was working part-time at the bank and the more I learned about myself the more I learned about what I wanted to do with my future,” Vergara said.

Vergara grew up in Hugoton until his parents, Santiago and Margarita Vergara, moved the family, including siblings Edgar and Valeria, to Liberal. As a first generation student, Vergara acknowledges that his success could inspire others to do the same.

I was surprised when Dr. Trzaska asked me to to be the commencement speaker. It took me a bit to let it soak in.

— Jonny Vergara

“I was raised by blue-collar individuals who are the hardest-working people I know,” he said. “They immigrated here to pursue the American Dream, and always told me to go to school, do my best, and make the most of my opportunities.”

One person who stands out to Vergara as part of his key to success is President Trzaska.

“He mentored me and taught me a lot,” Vergara said. “Dr. Trzaska and I see each other at chamber events so when he asked to talk to me, I didn’t think much of it. I was surprised when Dr. Trzaska asked me to to be the commencement speaker. It took me a bit to let it soak in.”

The branch manager sees SCCC as a place where students get an opportunity to grow and learn. He adds that what SCCC is doing direction wise and being close to their vision, is amazing.

“The flexibility with students will make it better for them to succeed,” Vergara adds. 

Vergara is board treasurer for the Seward County United Way, and is a member of the Kiwanis Club, Chamber of Commerce, and the Kansas Consortium for Academic Excellence in Intelligence work.

He also finds ways to keep himself moving and healthy. He recently completed his first half-marathon, participates in men’s bodybuilding/physique competitions, and maintains a large stack of reading material.

“I am constantly reading, constantly learning,” he said. “It inspires me and helps me come back to center.”

One thing he wants the graduates and students to take with them moving forward is to “challenge the status quo, challenge yourself to get far in life.”

The ceremony will take place in the Greenhouse on May 4 at 10 a.m.