Campus & Community

Grad Walk brings smiles, tears of joy for graduates

In lieu of a traditional commencement ceremony, Palm Beach State College held Grad Walk  May 13 to celebrate the achievements of its spring 2021 graduates.

For eight hours, graduates donning caps and gowns arrived in groups of 40 during 15-minute prearranged time slots to hear their names called, walk across the stage, be greeted by President Ava L. Parker, J.D. and be photographed. The families, some teary eyed, watched and chanted from the audience in the Duncan Theatre as their graduate crossed the stage. Then they moved to the outdoor portion of the event, which included a DJ, photo backdrops and a variety of food trucks.

Grad Walk provided a safe opportunity for students and their families to celebrate. It is the second such event the College has held since the start of the pandemic.

Sharon Braden Francois, who earned an Associate in Science degree and College Credit Certificate in Human Services, and her daughter, Kaisha Francois, who received Associate in Arts degree and an Associate in Science degree in Marketing Management, were among the graduates who participated in Grad Walk.

Sharon Braden Francois said she felt like giving up on school when her father died on her birthday in 2019. But she said being able to complete school and graduate with her daughter “is a dream come true.”

“I’m so proud of her. She has inspired me so much,’’ she said.

“With both of us being non-traditional students, I never imagined that we would get amazing grades like that,’’ Kaisha Francois said, noting that they both are Phi Theta Kappa honor society members and both graduated with high honors.

Palm Beach State awarded more than 2,600 associate and bachelor’s degrees and certificates this spring. To see Grad Walk pictures, visit the flickr album.

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