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SFCC Celebrates Commencement 2011

Submitted by on May 6, 2011 – 4:47 pmNo Comment


Dr. Norm Stephens (right) congratulates Teddy Leonard Callahan for earning his high school diploma.


Ricki Albritton, student speaker, encouraged her classmates to continue learning throughout their lives.

“We all have been given the chance to excel in the classroom; what we do with our knowledge is up to us,” said Ricki Albritton, keynote student speaker, at South Florida Community College’s commencement ceremony on May 4. She spoke of the value of education and learning and encouraged her fellow students to do the work they need to accomplish their goals.

“Each of us has a story that we are creating right now,” Albritton said. “Our stories started when we were born and continue all the way to today…graduating from South Florida Community College. We have been given the greater chance to create more chapters and keep building our story with this education.”

“Think about your future and get excited about accomplishing your goals without fear,” Albritton said. “I challenge you to go after your wildest dreams.” She credited Kimberly Crawford, head coach, Lady Panther volleyball; Dr. Brian Deery, professor, psychology; and her grandfather for encouraging her to keep learning and reaching for her goals.

Over 818 students met SFCC graduation requirements by commencement. A total of 719 received their Associate in Arts degrees, Associate in Science degrees, Associate in Applied Science degrees, vocational certificates, or college credit certificates. Another 99 graduated from SFCC’s Adult Education program. Participating in commencement were 239 students.

Dr. Norm Stephens, SFCC president, opened the ceremony by encouraging the graduates to “continue on their journey, always pursuing greater knowledge and wisdom; striving to serve the interests of others in our communities, our state, our nation, and around the world.” He recognized eight Honors Program graduates for academic excellence, outstanding leadership, and strong citizenship. They are Joshua Ball, Shane Donglasan, Karrie Dudek, Trenton Haralson, Christopher Jennings, Samuel Morgan, Ismael Vazquez, and Shea Young. The

Laura Wade sang "This is the Moment," from the Broadway musical, "Jeckyll and Hyde."

Honors Program is a selective admission academic program with the Division of Arts and Sciences at SFCC



Faculty who were selected by the SFCC Faculty Council to serve as marshals for the ceremony were Kathleen Cappo, Wayne Craig, Dr. Brian Deery, Felecia Dozier, Kim Hemler, T


anna Markel, Lena Phelps, and Ellen Thornton.


Laura Wade, coordinator, SFCC student life, sang “This is the Moment,” accompanied on the piano by Doug Andrews, dean, Cultural Programs. Rhonda Nesmith and Deborah Florence provided American Sign Language interpretation.

Members of the SFCC District Board of Trustees in attendance were Gary Delatorre, chair, Tim Backer, vice chair, Tami Cullens, Joan Hartt, Louis Kirschner, David Leidel, Richard Maenpaa, and Anne Reynolds.

Distinguished guests were Jeff Mechlin, vice president of the SFCC Foundation Board of Directors; Adrian Cline, superintendent of schools, Desoto County; Wendell Williams, former SFCC trustee, founding member of the SFCC Foundation, Inc., and charter member of the State Board of Community Colleges; Senior Pastor Laura White, New Mount Zion AME Church, and associate dean of SFCC Enrollment Management and University Relations; and Albritton, student keynote speaker.

Faculty and administrators make adjustments to their regalia before commencement.


Suzanne Demers and Tom BushIn the excitement of commencement, prospective graduates search for the faces of family and friends in the SFCC Theatre for the Performing Arts.


Christine Greenwald, professor, nursing, gives her best wishes to one of her former students, Emmeline Jean Baptist, at the reception following commencement.

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