Campus & Community

Palm Beach State College to hold two commencement ceremonies Dec. 19

Palm Beach State College will hold two commencement ceremonies Dec. 19 to celebrate the 2,675 fall graduates of its degree and certificate programs.

The first ceremony will be at 9:30 a.m. at the Palm Beach County Convention Center for the 1,482 students completing the Associate in Arts transfer degree. The second ceremony will be held at 2 p.m. for the 1,193 graduates of the Associate in Science, Associate in Applied Science, Bachelor of Applied Science, and Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree programs along with the certificate programs. Both ceremonies will be broadcast live on the Internet at www.palmbeachstate.edu. Students, faculty, staff and the public also can get updates on the College’s social media sites with the hashtags #PBSC2014grad, #PBSCgraduation and #PBSCgrad.

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John Sanabria

The student speaker for each ceremony was selected through an essay contest open to all fall graduates. John Sanabria, an A.A. degree candidate who served as Student Government Association president on the Lake Worth campus for the 2013-2014 year, was selected to speak at the morning ceremony. Barb Howard, who is completing an A.S. degree in graphic design, was chosen for the afternoon ceremony.

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Barb Howard

Both students credit PBSC with changing their lives and future and say they are honored to address their classmates. Sanabria graduated from Santaluces Community High School in 2010 with no plans to go to college. However, at his mother’s suggestion, he enrolled at PBSC in 2012. On his first day, he met Alexiou Gibson, a member of the SGA on the Lake Worth campus, who invited him to assist with a project. He then met other students from different walks of life, giving him a feeling that he was not alone on his educational journey.

He says the SGA exposed him to community service, volunteering, group work, and critical thinking. He enjoyed the experiences so much that he ran for and was elected SGA president. He had served as an SGA senator the prior year. He also joined the Save Our Sons student club where he met mentors and peers who also encouraged him. His involvement and leadership in the SGA led him to receive the President’s Award this year from the Florida College System Student Government Association. The award is given to one president out of all the 28 state and community college SGA presidents and branch campus presidents who provided outstanding service and support to fellow SGA students.

“I’m just grateful for everything that Palm Beach State has done for me and provided me. Without Palm Beach state… I wouldn’t be the person that I am today,’’ said Sanabria, who plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in sociology with a minor in industrial psychology.

After working part-time for 10 years as a graphic technician at her Boca Raton church, Howard decided to return to school at PBSC in 2012 to pursue formal training in the field that she had grown to love. She said her experiences at Palm Beach State “sparked new life into my future.” She now plans to launch her own freelance graphic design business.

Before moving to Florida in 1997, the Michigan native lived in Anchorage, Alaska for 21 years and worked for the Municipality of Anchorage in several positions, including 15 years as an engineering technician. She received a bachelor’s degree in organizational management from Alaska Pacific University.

She said she was not able to participate in commencement when she received her first degree, so it is an “overwhelming honor” to address her classmates this time.

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