Four Mothers Graduate from Eastern Florida Alongside Their Children.
Eastern Florida State College held its spring commencement ceremonies on Thursday, with over 1,700 students eligible to receive their diplomas and 700 graduates walking. The ceremonies were conducted at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., and each graduate received four guest tickets. Amidst a sea of blue, the smiles didn’t stop for Titans of all ages at the 2 p.m. ceremony.
Eastern Florida State College is known for its outstanding academic programs, and the college has been instrumental in helping thousands of students to achieve their goals. The students who walked the stage on Thursday echoed this sentiment, using words like “amazing” and “surreal” to describe their feelings about graduating. Several of the graduates talked about the challenges they had to overcome to reach this stage in their lives.
In addition to the usual emotions that come with graduation, there were several moments of family unity during the ceremonies. Four mothers earned their degrees at the same time as their children. Traci McGough and her son, Elijah McGough; Dorothy Bowman and her son Dawson; and Niccole Patellis, her son, Christopher Patellis, and her daughter, Emma Dion; and Stephanie Rodriguez and her daughter, Mia Ferrell-Rodriguez, all shared the stage and celebrated their accomplishments together.
Christopher Patellis plans to head to University of Central Florida, where he’ll major in pre-med. Emma Dion, who like her brother is dual-enrolled at Merritt Island High School and Eastern Florida, will be going into the U.S. Army in August as an animal care specialist. Niccole Patellis exclaimed that it was “amazing” to graduate at the same time as her children. “It’s an awesome feeling to get my AA, and them get theirs as well,” she said.
President Dr. Jim Richey commended graduates in a special message, noting how difficult the journey to graduation can be, with many juggling jobs, families, and other responsibilities. “Getting here has not been easy with many of you juggling jobs, families, and other responsibilities. But you stayed the course despite the challenges you faced,” said Richey. “That fortitude is not something that can be taught in the classroom. Rather, it speaks to your strength of character in a way that you can draw on in the years ahead.”
The spring commencement ceremony was a momentous occasion for the graduates and their families, reflecting not only on past achievements but looking forward to the exciting journey that lies ahead. Eastern Florida State College congratulates their graduates and wishes them well as they move forward in their careers.