|The college’s 119th Commencement Exercises take place Saturday, July 21, at 10 a.m. at the First Baptist Church of Indian Rocks, 12685 Ulmerton Road, Largo.|
Deniann Grant has pushed herself to achieve as a way to honor the sacrifice her parents made for her education.
When she was 11, her parents moved from Antigua and Barbuda so that Grant and her three siblings would have the opportunity to go to college.
“One of my big motivators is definitely remembering the sacrifices that my parents made to move us to America,” said Grant, 18, who concentrated on English courses at the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus. “You think about the things your parents give up—even their retirement funds—to move to a completely different country to start over so that their children can have the opportunities that I’ve had here at SPC. I want to honor that.”
Grant, who receives her Associate in Arts degree, has been chosen as the lower division student speaker for commencement Saturday.
At 16, she graduated from the Criminal Justice Academy at Pinellas Park High School and began taking classes at SPC as a full-time student in fall 2010. Selected as a Johnnie Ruth Clarke scholar, she has been to attend the college tuition-free and has maintained a 3.9 GPA.
In her two years here, Grant served as president of the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus’s Student Government Association in 2011-12 and Chief Executive Officer for the transitional team of MYRA (Make Your Radio Active) Radio Network, the project of the college’s new internet Radio Production Club. As SGA president, she oversaw the funding of the club’s equipment.
“She is the CEO of the club, which we’ve structured like a business,” said Mark Matthews, Lead Instructor of the Music Industry/Recording Arts program who serves as club advisor. When Grant stepped down from her role as SGA president, he recruited her to lead the student radio station because of how well she understood the process of running a club and how it should be organized.
“She’s been incredible,” Matthews said. “She’s responsible for doing the club bylaws and constitutions; she’s been interfacing with the SPC legal department. We have weekly meetings with all the staff of the radio station, and she’s been very efficient and organized.”
“Deniann Grant has helped to define the way faculty, students and staff view student leaders, not only here at St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus but collegewide,” said Tyrone Clinton, Associate Provost at the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus. “As president of the Student Government Association, she set high standards for those who will follow in her footsteps. She also has shown her classmates that with dedication and hard work your goals are attainable.”
Grant will transfer to the University of Florida in the fall to pursue a bachelor’s degree in English. After graduation, she plans to attend law school and to later return to SPC to serve as a mentor to students.
“I want to continue in my education to not only give back to my family by setting a good example for my younger brothers and cousins, but also to give back to the community as well,” Grant said. “It’s about spreading knowledge and letting everyone know that it’s possible to do the same things that I’ve done at 16 or 18, that anything you want, you can get as long as you are willing to work for it.”