Jefferson State honors graduates in virtual ceremony

By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer

Jefferson State Community College did not let the novel coronavirus pandemic take away the opportunity for graduates to celebrate their achievements with an audience of their biggest fans.

JSCC hosted a virtual commencement ceremony on Friday, June 5, with individual recognition for each student and a keynote address from Dr. Marquita Furness Davis, deputy director of early learning for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Dr. Marquita Davis, deputy director of early learning for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, provided the keynote address during Jefferson State Community College’s virtual commencement ceremony on Friday, June 5. (Contributed)

“I know that there were times that it seemed like this wasn’t going to happen,” Davis said to the students. “Regardless of the circumstances, you made this happen. You walked in and you achieved your goal. You are an amazing group of individuals who had the fortitude and resilience and perseverance to make this happen.”

Davis urged the students to give back what has been poured into them, recognize their resilience in challenging situations, be humble, be kind to themselves and know they are equipped to complete their tasks.

“Always remember you have everything inside of you that you need,” Davis said. “The rest of the world is waiting for you to achieve all of your goals.”

JSCC’s original graduation exercises scheduled for May 1 had to be postponed because of the health directives related to the pandemic.

In addition to individual student recognition and Davis’s keynote speech, the virtual commencement exercises included a solo performance of Lauren Daigle’s “You Say” by Isaiah Radcliff, as well as a performance by the Jefferson State Singers.

Reading of the graduates was rendered by Mildred Lanier.

Conferring of degrees and certificates was led by JSCC President Keith Brown.

Brown congratulated the graduates and welcomed them to the Jefferson State family.

“Although we find ourselves in unprecedented times and cannot meet together, it in no way diminishes the importance of this ceremony and the significance of your achievement,” Brown said. “Graduates, you have earned something that can never be taken from you. From now on you will be known as a college graduate. This is a testament not only to your academic preparation and the knowledge you have gained, but also to the level of perseverance and persistence and ability to set a goal and accomplish it.”