The crowd gathered at the First Baptist Church of Indian Rocks cheered as SPC President Bill Law related details about the graduating class:
- 141 received more than one credential
- 114 were between the ages of 50 and 60
- 17 were older than 60
- The college’s youngest graduate was 17 and the oldest was 72
- For every two male graduates, there were three female graduates
- Four graduates received diplomas on their birthday
- Since the college started in 1927, it has awarded 137,455 degrees
Graduates applauded their classmates Hector Hernandez, Katharine Cuervo, Desdemona Nugent and Kristina Sampson. The four were nominated as student speakers representing SPC’s associate of arts and associate of sciences graduates as well as graduating bachelor’s degrees students.
Hernandez, who plans to pursue an engineering degree at the University of South Florida, shared with the audience that his journey to graduation had not been easy. But, he said, “Quitting was not an option. None of us are quitters.” Don’t be afraid of the obstacles, he told his fellow graduates. His voice rising, he said, “It’s about how hard we can get hit and move forward!”
Receiving her bachelor’s degree in Health Services Administration, Cuervo also talked about the difficulty of being in college. She returned to college at 50 and was “full of self-doubt,” she said. Now graduating, she said, “I feel like I can conquer the world. Never let anyone tell you your dreams are impossible or impractical.”
Nugent, who earned her associate of arts, has participated in student government as well as Phi Theta Kappa and the college’s Music Industry Recording Arts program. “If you stay true to who you are, you’ll discover who you are and what you want in life,” she said during her speech.
Sampson described herself as going from an 18-year-old flunkee to a 31-year-old mother and teacher with a 4.0 GPA. “I don’t know the plot of our next chapter. We all have the ability, talent and knowledge to make our lives bestsellers,” she said. She received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education with a reading endorsement.
Watch both graduation events are available as well as the nursing graduating class’ pinning ceremony: