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EFSC Students Celebrate Fall Graduation

View Commencement Photos on Flickr

December 16, 2021 - Students at Eastern Florida State College celebrated Fall Commencement on Thursday with cheers and broad smiles after earning their diplomas despite difficult challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Katelyn Vollmer in graduation cap and gownMore than 1,800 students were eligible to graduate with almost 500 of those attending ceremonies held at noon and 3 p.m. at the King Center for the Performing Arts on the Melbourne Campus.

Commencement ceremony replays can be viewed on the College’s YouTube channel at bit.ly/efscwatch.

Among the graduates was Katelyn Vollmer who earned her Associate in Science degree in Social and Human Services with a specialization in Domestic Violence.

"We all went through the pandemic, I have had my bumps in the road, but I got there. I didn’t lose focus and the more hurdles that came up, the more I wanted to prove that I could do it," said Vollmer.

"I am the first of my parent’s children to graduate. I have worked so hard to get here, finally I am seeing all of that hard work pay off."

Graduation cap with mother of 3 with a degree messageEFSC President Dr. Jim Richey lauded the graduates, saying they ran a gauntlet of challenges caused by the pandemic that were unmatched in the college’s history.

Said Richey:

“You have been through tremendous disruption, change and uncertainty caused by the pandemic. Some of you may have lost jobs, experienced financial problems and even faced sickness to yourselves as well as your family and friends. 
 
But through it all you never wavered, never lost sight of your goals, never surrendered  your dream of a bright future filled with promise and opportunity. Take a moment and let that sink in. You did not give up. You never gave up. 
 
I cannot begin to say how proud I am of you, and how inspired I am, truly inspired, by your strength of character and strong belief in yourselves. In you I see resilience, fortitude and courage in a grand way."

Also graduating today were Kashana Kollie and Patrice Floyd, friends from Tampa who said they got through their EFSC journey by supporting each other.

King Center Commencement wide shot"I did not get to walk at my high school graduation so this means everything to me. I am the oldest of eight children and this is just amazing that my parents get to watch me get my degree today, my children also get to watch me. I am elated," said Kollie, who earned an associate degree and is moving on to EFSC's Organizational Management Bachelor’s of Applied Science program.

"It has been hard, but I am so excited to be here today and now I have accomplished this goal," said Floyd, who earned a Bachelor's in Organizational Management with plans to become a real estate agent. "My mom has passed and it is something she always wanted for me and honestly something I have wanted for myself for a very long time."

Among the 3 p.m. ceremony graduates was Makalah Shenelle Ayanna Pierre who earned an associate's degree with Phi Theta Kappa honors. Dual enrollment at EFSC while still a high school student gave the spring 2021 Palm Bay High graduate a head start.

"It is exciting to be able to say I graduated from high school and college and now I can focus on getting my nursing degree," said Pierre. "My mom went to nursing school when she was 28 and didn’t graduate until she was in her 40s so I definitely feel proud about where I am today. I am not even 20 yet and have a degree!"

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.

The graduates joined more than 125,000 others who have earned their diplomas since the college opened in 1960.