On Friday, May 10, 2019, East Georgia State College held their annual Spring Commencement Ceremony. Speaker for the event was Regent Laura Marsh of the University System of Georgia Board of Regents. Alumni Speaker was Harley Strickland, while Zahnay Smoak served as student speaker.
“I’ve learned a lot these past few years,” Strickland shared in her speech. “Take a chance. Go for it. Whatever career path you choose, you’re going to have to take chances. If you take a chance, a lot of doors can open for you. You can’t be scared of failure. You’ll fail. It’s okay. I also want to tell you to think about your future, but don’t think too hard about it. Thinking about your future is a lot like thinking about a tattoo. That tattoo will be there for the rest of your life. The decisions you make could possibly impact you for the rest of your life. But don’t let it hold you back; if you make a mistake now, it’ll be a great story in the future.”
“I also want to ask you the question, ‘what is success?’” she continued, sharing a story from her pageant days when she was asked to define success. “If I was asked today, I’d have many successes. Your success may be getting this degree. It may be finding someone who loves you. Your success could be landing a dream job. Everyone has their own success. Always have a dream, and always have little successes along the way that you can accomplish that keep you on your path to that dream.”
Smoak then spoke to the assembled students and their families, thanking all for attending the ceremony. “We all chose East Georgia as our starting point for our postsecondary education, and for many different reasons,” she said. “We start small so that our ending will be big, and as we go our separate ways on different paths, remember that you illustrate your future by creating moments that inspire you, and you’re the author of your own book because you write the changes that you feel are necessary for your life.”
Regent Marsh then took the podium, sharing the following wisdom in her address, “The most difficult part of giving any type of graduation speech is trying to put into words the sacrifices that each of the people in this room have made in order for you to be here. I want you to take a minute to embrace this time, because it goes by quickly and I want you to remember it. Whatever titles you may have been known by in high school in your prior career when you walked in this auditorium tonight, you’re going to leave here with a different title: college graduate. And that’s a big deal.”
“What you’re doing here today is not only going to impact your future, but that of your children, grandchildren, and generations to come. It is an honor and a tool that can never be taken away from you,” she continued.
Regent Marsh then shared the responses from a social media query she sent out asking for advice for graduates. She shared the top ten, David Letterman-style, ending with her top pick, “My last quote came from a high school friend I had not heard from in thirty years. She quoted the words of Daniel Goldston, who said, ‘If you're going to be passionate about something, be passionate about learning. If you're going to fight something, fight for those in need. If you're going to question something, question authority. If you're going to lose something, lose your inhibitions. If you're going to gain something, gain respect and confidence. And if you're going to hate something, hate the false idea that you are not capable of your dreams.’ It may be one of you sitting here before me that discovers the cure to Alzheimer’s or cancer, that discovers the answer to our country’s opioid crisis, or writes the next great Harry Potter series. Dream big and set out to accomplish those things, for in America, of all the native cats, it is the bobcat that has the longest and largest range. I cannot wait to watch and see how far you Bobcats go in life.”
Overall, EGSC saw 87 Associate of Arts degrees, 21 Associate of Science degrees, three Bachelor of Science in Fire and Emergency Services Administration degrees, 12 Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees, and six Certificates of Accomplishment in Work Readiness Skills awarded during the ceremony.
Associate of Arts degrees were awarded to the following: Irenette Shantrice Anthony, Kaitlin Elizabeth Atkins, Anna Grace Brandon, Colin Patrick Brister, Margaret Anne Brogan, Ahmid Jamel Bryant, Kinsey Andrew Burgess, Courtney Briana Butts, Jasmine Janay Bynes, Meghan Kimberly Canady, Cameron Nicholas Chalker, Keon Rashon Cobb, Macy Paige Coleman, Tiffany Michelle Coleman, Michelle Cook Collins, Makayla Cheyenne Conner, Carlos Lamont Cooper, Jr., Jenosha Desiree Copeland, Andrew Jackson Corbitt, Jazzmyn Crismia Cox, Joseph Sinclair Dailey, Terrie Ann Daniel, Ryan Joseph DelNegro, Sarah Evelyn Deloach, Rashod Octavios Doomes, Teretha Ann Drummer, Benjamin Luke Ely, Nathan Jarrett Fancher, Alexandria Elaina Favors, Myles Harrison Gill I, Preston James Hall, Maurielle Mylika Cyrene Harmon, Steven Lee Harris, Jr., Brittany Renee Hatcher, Esmeralda Gissell Hernandez, Katie Lee Hill, Myesha Antoinette Hughes, Madison Marie Johnson, Journey B. Kearns, Caroline Elizabeth Kraus, Dulce Rosario Lima, Keyona Desha Lundy, Hope Summer McCullough, Harlie N. McDaniel, Mystie Marie McDaniel, Dy'Amond Princess Ka'Tanyia McGhee, Mallory Rena'-Nicole McGill, Akira Eddie Mitchell, Quanikqua Nisha Moultrie, Emily Hope Mushrush, Jada Ni'ree Neal, Corey Lawrence Nelson, Julianne Nomura, Allison Claire Oliver, Keely Shay Overstreet, Tonye Eric Pierce, Christopher Alexander Porter, Allyson Louise Rachels, Silas Tirrell Rawls, Tarinesia T. Rivers, Tevaris Leshon Roberson, Aysha Traviyon Scott, Keirra Christina Scott, Tayla Shawtel Scott, Tionna Sommore Scott, Gregory Levon Smiley III, Ally Alexis Smith, Athen Matthew Smith, Shecoria Waynetria Smith, Zahnay Elizabeth Smoak, Akira Jadeline Sutton, Trenton Michael Tharpe, Bailey LeeAnn Thompson, Deonjanae Asanti Thompson, Savanna Elexsa Walker, Cameron Tarik Washington, Ebony Jane' Watson, Justin Demetri Watson, Amber Lindsey Way, Jordan Shae Wells, Cory Lee West, Unidria Sharnaye Marie Wicker, Troy Nelson Wiley, Jr., William Cole Wilkes, Dionne Allantia' Williams, Megan Marie Williams and Willie Lee Williams IV.
Associate of Science degrees were awarded to the following: Destinee Joy Coleman, Brenda Faye Crews, John Timothy Dailey, Evan William Davis, Parker Lynn Davis, Bailey Kathryn Durrence, Refugio Gudino, Jr., Joshua Clayton Hendley, Kara Michelle Henry, Emily Ann Hernandez, Destiny Maire Herrera, Grace Ann Jenkins, Kendra Marie Johnson, Timothy Edward Lee, Blake Masuta McBride, Miagney Jabre Ripley, Zhane Dajon Russell, Breanna Lois Smith, Sydney Alexis Sulley, Bradley Michael Williamson and Daisy Kate Youmans.
Bachelor of Arts in Fire and Emergency Services Administration degrees were awarded to Justin Eugene Eaton, William Michael Holberton and Billy Reagan Petite.
Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees were awarded to Marjorie Denise Arthur, Tomeka Shuvonne Browder, Rebecca Blythe Brown, Ricky Alan Cliett, Robyn Delaine Cumbee, Marian Catrina Forrest, Mai Fujimoto, Christy Lynn Paul, Claudia Yvete Rodriguez, Cathryn Nichole Rogers, Mary E. Weaver and Paula Ann Wilcox.
Certificates of Accomplishment in Work Readiness Skills were awarded to Demetrius Kyjon Adams, Skyler McKenzie Adams, Katharine McKay Franks, Ashley M. Kennedy, Cole Martin Norsworthy and Marqua'Veous Reuben Williams.
Also, a posthumous Associate of Science Degree in Chemistry was awarded to Christian Brooke Joiner. Her family accepted the degree on her behalf.
Congratulations to all of our Spring 2019 graduates!