They had their caps and gowns, but for graduating students at Florida Career College (FCC) it was not a typical graduation ceremony. Then again, 2020 has been anything but a typical year. On October 11, the seven South Florida campuses of Florida Career College hosted virtual graduation ceremonies for the more than 2,000 graduates in the Class of 2020. The ceremonies were held via a special live-streamed YouTube video for each campus.
“Out of concern for the health and well-being of our graduates and their families, we decided to hold graduation ceremonies virtually, but we are no less proud of the hard-working graduates who overcame obstacles presented by the pandemic. We know they will continue to persevere and do great things,” said Michael Cole, FCC Regional Vice President of Operations.
The virtual ceremonies included special recorded video messages from campus leaders, student reflections, and a keynote speech by Hazelle Rogers, the Mayor of Lauderdale Lakes, Florida.
Graduating students picked up their caps and gowns prior to the ceremonies, and students were given the opportunity to submit a photo and favorite quote which was displayed on screen while their name was read aloud.
“Today is not the graduation any of us imagined for you. But, we are no less proud of your accomplishments,” said Niki Good, FCC Regional Vice President of Operations. “We were hoping to see your smiling faces and meet your family and friends as we celebrate your graduation. We all wanted to cheer as you proudly walked across the stage, so in my mind, I am picturing you all surrounded by the individuals you care about most – of course, being safe at the same time.”
“Your determination to successfully attain this milestone is a testament to your refusal to succumb to any obstacles in your path. In a world devastated by COVID-19 you were still able to adapt and thrive on your road to success,” Mayor Rogers told graduates. “You are essential, and you are the next generation of our workforce.”
“There were times I thought I would not reach the finish line, but the struggles have made this reward sweeter,” said Kennion Palmer, student speaker from the FCC Boynton Beach campus.
“Every single one of us has a life outside of these walls, whether it be a full-time student, having a full-time job, being a parent, spouse or all of the above. Juggling life and following our dreams is not an easy process. We all had days that were low, where we struggled with many tasks set ahead of us. But, throughout this journey, we made it happen with amazing support from our teachers, faculty, clubs, and our peers. The time spent here at FCC not only came a haven, but an extended family,” said graduate Johnte Taylor from FCC Lauderdale Lakes.
“I took this as an opportunity to grow. I strive to demonstrate to my daughters that anyone, no matter their age or socioeconomic status, can accomplish anything as long as they continuously work hard for it. I’ve shown them the value and reward of respect and kindness. My failures were my teaching moments, and now, this new success will be their new aspiration,” said Mirla Alvarez, student speaker from FCC Margate.
“As someone who never liked attending school, and gave up easily, I can tell you this is a big accomplishment. This is a major step in the journey of our lives, one that should be recognized for immense significance. It is an act not only of a personal commitment, but also one to be proud of. We all worked hard to get to this day, and our work did not go to waste,” said Eileen Forbes, student speaker from FCC Miami.
Janice Otriz, the student speaker from the FCC Pembroke Pines campus told graduates “Today is no small feat. It perhaps is the most significant and life-altering achievement most of you can claim to this day. Never hesitate to recognize how proud each and every person here today is for you to complete such a long and difficult task.”
“If you want something, go get it! No one can stop you. People might test you, but you have to prove to them, and yourself, that you’re more than capable of completing any task you can, be anything you want,” said Rodolpho Lopez, student speaker from FCC West Palm Beach.
“From all of us at Florida Career College, congratulations to the Class of 2020. You have risen to the challenges that this year presented with poise and determination. We are proud of you. The resolve you have demonstrated during this challenging time will serve you well as you embark on your next chapter. As essential workers, our communities need you now more than ever,” said Dr. Fardad Fateri, President and CEO. “As you go out into the world, always remember the lessons of perseverance that 2020 has taught you.”
All ceremony live streams were recorded and are available for viewing on the FCC YouTube channel.
About Florida Career College
Florida Career College (FCC) is an accredited, employee-owned post-secondary career education system with campuses locations in Florida and Texas. FCC offers programs in high-demand fields such as health care, business and skilled trades. Each program is designed to provide every student with the skills, knowledge, and training they need to be successful in their future careers. FCC programs are tailored to meet the needs of students with small classes. Students can train for entry-level careers and start building their future in as few as 10 months. For more information visit www.floridacareercollege.edu.