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EFSC Graduates Celebrate In-Person Commencement
How to Watch Replays: Graduation YouTube Playlist
May 13, 2021 - Eastern Florida State College students celebrated Spring Commencement in style Thursday with the first in-person graduation ceremonies since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
More than 175 students participated in the first 10:30 a.m. ceremony at the King Center for the Performing Arts on the Melbourne Campus, with 250 walking aross the stage at 1 p.m. and 213 graduates at 3:30 p.m. Graduates and guests in attendance were required to wear masks and practice social distancing.
Among those graduating were Organizational Management Bachelor of Applied Science degree recipients Laurel Tucker and Alyssa Lovett, friends who pushed through the difficulties created by the pandemic to earn their degrees.
"I was reminiscing about being here in 2018 and getting my A.A. Degree," said Tucker. "So proud. I'm am now a Titan alumni, sealed!"
"I am going to get my Master’s Degree in Accounting," said Lovett. "I love how EFSC partners with so many schools. I was dual enrolled before with Brevard Public Schools, and now I will head to a university... not sure where yet."
Also taking part in a Thursday ceremony was Associate in Arts degree graduate Brianna Douglas who intends to move on to the University of La Verne in California as a full-scholarship political science major. Douglas said staying focused on college during the COVID pandemic was tough.
"It was extremely emotional, I broke down in tears. It was hard. I just wanted to get to today, I came too far to be giving up now. I just had to keep going for myself and my family," said Douglas, who graduated with a 4.0 GPA. "This is the greatest feeling ever."
EFSC President Dr. Jim Richey told the students the college was “elated we can all be together to mark this very special occasion.”
“Earning a college degree is never easy, and earning a degree during a pandemic is exceptionally difficult. But despite the unprecedented challenges you faced, you committed yourselves to success and have achieved it. You have crossed the finish line,” he said.
“I cannot begin to say how proud I am of you, and how inspired we are, truly inspired, by your strength of character and strong belief in yourselves.
“In you I see resilience, fortitude and courage in a grand way. You never gave up, and today you enjoy the rewards of your hard work.
“Carry that determination with you in the years ahead, confident that you can overcome any obstacle that life puts in your way,” he said.
The college canceled in-person graduation ceremonies in May 2020 and December 2020 because of the pandemic, holding virtual ceremonies and special drive-thru celebrations on campus instead.
About 1,800 students were eligible to graduate this spring, with 640 of those deciding to take part in the three scaled back commencement ceremonies, which were limited to about 250 graduates each. The events included a mask requirement inside the King Center, with graduates allowed to remove their facial covering for a photo opportunity as they exited the stage.
Associate in Arts degree graduate Sam Whalen plans to head for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to pursue a Mechanical Engineering bachelor's. The dual-enrolled Whalen will also graduate from Titusville High School this month.
"It was a unique challenge, especially when we had to convert to online classes last year," said Whalen. "I was able to pull through with the support of my high school and college instructors and peers."
Graduates, family and friends are encouraged to post their photos and videos from the day on social media using the hashtag #EFSCgrad so they can be part of the virtual social wall.
Spring 2021 graduates join more than 120,000 others who have earned their degrees from the college since it opened in 1960.