Graduate congratulated by Dr. Thomas C. Leitzel, SFSC president.

AVON PARK, Fla.  – Dec. 18, 2020 – For South Florida State College (SFSC) graduates who gathered in the Alan Jay Wildstein Theater for the Performing Arts on Thursday, Dec. 17, the 2020 Commencement ceremony was a time to celebrate, while taking precautions during the pandemic. Graduates were honored from both the spring 2020 graduating class and those graduating in December 2020.

Early in the program, Joe Wright, chair of the SFSC Board of Trustees, addressed the graduates by saying, “You are the most prepared class we have ever had.” He explained that the Class of 2020 is the class of the pandemic year. “No one can tell you exactly what to do, because we have never seen times like this. You have had to deal with emotional strain and social isolation, face financial hardship, think quickly on your feet, be creative, take risks, and be both flexible and realistic. Completing your college degree in this year’s environment has accelerated your maturity in ways you may not fully appreciate for a while. Nevertheless, you persevered. SFSC Class of 2020, you are the most prepared class we have ever had.”

The graduates received congratulations and further words of wisdom from Dr. Thomas C. Leitzel, SFSC president. “Today, we stand in unity for the purpose of celebrating accomplishments. It’s a unity that we embrace collectively, for today is the culmination of what we do as we uphold the instructional mission of South Florida State College.”

Through much of Dr. Leitzel’s presentation, he emphasized one particular phrase. “You heard me say, ‘Keep moving,’” he said. “That is more than just a processional message during Commencement. I truly mean ‘keep moving.’ Move on to your next opportunity with confidence. Move toward your next academic credential. Move toward that next promotion at work. Move toward the opportunity to make a difference in the world. Just keep moving. Whatever you do, keep moving forward. Be safe. Work hard. Apply the lessons you learned in the classroom … and keep moving.”

During the ceremony, Dr. Leitzel gave special recognition to two individuals who served the College with excellence and will retire in December. Glenn Little, vice president for administrative services, retires after having served SFSC for 35 years. Dawn Pisarski, professor of nursing, retires after having served the College for 11 1/2 years.

Proud graduate

The number of students participating in the December Commencement ceremonies totaled 162.

Approximately 462 students met the SFSC requirements for spring 2020 Commencement. Of these, 21 received their Bachelor of Science in Supervision and Management (BAS-SM), 10 received their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), 13 received their Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education (BSEE), 205 received their Associate in Arts (A.A.), 73 received their Associate in Science (A.S.), five received their State of Florida High School diplomas, and 135 received career certificates and college credit certificates.

Approximately 255 students will have met the SFSC requirements by December Commencement. Of these, 13 will receive their BAS-SM, one will receive their BSEE, 95 will receive their A.A., 33 receive their A.S., 19 will receive their State of Florida High School diplomas, and 94 will receive career certificates and college credit certificates.

The mace bearer and chief marshal for this year’s ceremony is Beth Andrews. Marshals are Tom Bohan, Kathleen Cappo, Joan Davies, Rob Hampton, Theresa James, Cindy Kinser, Ricardo Pantoja, Lena Phelps, Andy Polk, and Tina Stetson.

Jim StaffordDec. 18, 2020 – Since 1985, South Florida State College (SFSC) has presented the popular Goodtime Tuesdays Matinee Series which includes country and pop music, rock & roll tributes, and international recording artist, Bertie Higgins. Matinee performances begin Jan. 19 and run to March 23, every Tuesday.

With social distancing and reduced capacity of only 440 seats, two shows are available for most performances with 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. shows. All performances will take place at the Alan Jay Wildstein Center for the Performing Arts at 600 West College Drive in Avon Park. Parking is free. Tickets for the Matinee Series of performances range from $15 to $32. Because of limited seating, group discounts and subscriptions are not available.

Following CDC guidelines and recommendations from the Event Safety Alliance, there are new protocols for health and safety. Face masks are required, including during the performance. All performances run 75–90 minutes without an intermission. Concessions are not available and patrons may bring a plastic bottle of water into the theater. All areas of the Wildstein Center are sanitized and disinfected before every show. 

“Audiences love coming to spend the afternoon in Highlands County,” said Cindy Garren, director of cultural programs at SFSC. “Do a little golfing on our Citrus Trail, visit the historic Hotel Jacaranda for a delightful lunch, shop, and see a top-notch show. Plus you get home before dark!” 

The Music of John Denver with Ted Vigil kicks off the popular series on Jan. 19 with a performance of Denver’s inspiring and memorable music like “Rocky Mountain High” and “Thank God I’m a Country Boy.” Tickets are $17, $22, and $28.

Comedian, musician and songwriter Jim Stafford had several hits in the 70s including “My Girl Bill,” “Swamp Witch,” and the gold record “Spiders and Snakes.” His award-winning Branson show has been selling out since 1993. Performances are Tuesday, Jan. 26 at 1:30 p.m. and Wednesday, Jan. 27 at 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $22, $26, and $32.

Shades of Bublé, a three-man tribute to Michael Buble delivers swinging standards, Billboard hits, and big band standards in a high energy concert. Two performances will take place on Feb. 2. Tickets are $15, $20, and $28.

Rhinestone Cowboy Memories stars Jeff Dayton, who was Glen Campbell’s band leader and right hand man for 15 years in a heartwarming performance of Campbell’s biggest hits and the stories behind them. Two matinee shows take place on Feb. 9. Tickets are $15, $20, and $25.

“Key Largo,” “Casablanca,” “Just Another Day in Paradise,” and “Son of a Beach” were international hits for Florida native and a member of the Florida Artist Hall of Fame, Bertie Higgins. Two performances are on Feb. 16. Tickets are $22, $26, and $32.

Turnstiles, starring Tony Monaco, is a passionate and energetic tribute to Billy Joel. “The audience loved them when Turnstiles performed on our stage a few years ago,” added Garren, “And people kept asking to bring them back.” Two performances are scheduled for Feb. 23. Tickets are $22, $26, and $32.

With selections from the Great American Songbook, classic Broadway and pop tunes from the 40s and 50s, America’s Sweethearts, celebrate America’s history with crystal clear harmonies and colorful costumes. Two performances are on March 2. Tickets are $15, $20, and $25.

Nashville-based Sail On performs all the classic hits of the Beach Boys plus a few brilliant extended songs from the Beach Boys catalog. Faithfully recreating the timeless music of surfing, cruising, and dreaming, two performances take place on March 9. Tickets are $22, $26, and $32.

Chi-Town Transit is a seven-member ensemble that exclusively plays the music of Chicago. You will be wowed with their renditions from the famed “rock band with horns.” Two performances are on March 23. Tickets are $22, $26, and $32.

All programs, artists, dates and times are subject to change and/or cancellation. In the event of a cancellation, refunds will be issued to ticketholders.

Videos and information are available online at sfscARTS.org. Tickets can be purchased online, by phone at 863-784-7178, or visiting the box office located at 600 West College Drive in Avon Park. The SFSC Box Office will be closed for winter break, Dec. 19 – Jan. 3, reopening Jan. 4 at 11:30 a.m.

The performing arts program at South Florida State College is funded in part by the Florida Department of State Division of Cultural Affairs and by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.

Class 264 and Class 361 graduates

AVON PARK, Fla. — Dec. 14, 2020 —South Florida State College’s (SFSC) Basic Law Enforcement (BLE) Academy BLE Class 264 and the Crossover Academy Class 361 graduated 22 cadets during a ceremony on Wednesday, Dec. 9 in the Alan Jay Wildstein Center for the Performing Arts on the SFSC Highlands Campus in Avon Park.

BLE Class 264 and Crossover Class 361 graduates who received career certificates were Christopher Wingate (class leader), Estefani Galarza (executive officer), Skylar Casian (first squadron leader), Mckenzie Bostick, Joseph Martin, Triston Ragoodial, Raphael Scott, Karon Paulk (second squad leader), Alejandro Gamez, Garrett Green, Jewell Lagunas, Samuel Jacobs (third squad leader), Gloriangeli Calero, Michael Dean, Samuel Jacobs, Johnathan Knight, Matthew Willis, Brady Rogers (fourth squad leader), Ramiro Doval, William Holliday, Horace Nicholson, and Karen Woodham.

Guest speaker for the graduation was Sgt. Wayne Gunn of the Highlands County Sheriff’s Department and adjunct faculty for the SFSC Criminal Justice Academy. Addressing the graduates, he said, “It is important to remember that wearing a badge on your chest gives you authority, but it does not give you respect. Respect is not automatically given but it is earned, especially in the streets.”

Gunn spoke about courage. “Although we have trained and tested you mentally and physically, there is one thing we cannot teach: We cannot teach courage. It takes courage to confront a suspect who has committed a serious crime and you’re about to take away their freedom. It takes courage to refrain ourselves in using only the amount of force necessary to control a dangerous situation. It takes courage to protect those who spew hatred toward you, but you still conduct yourself in a respectful way. It takes courage to run toward gunfire when everyone else is running away.

“My hope for you all is that you spend your career protecting the safety of others, that you’re able to make a difference in our community in meaningful ways. Remember to also take care of yourself and your family. Take care of yourself on the streets, watch over one another, and make sure that we all go home to our families at the end of the shift. Serve your community with honor, respect, integrity, and courage.”

During the ceremony, special awards were presented to three of the cadets: Christopher Wingate as class leader, Estefani Galarza for top academics, and Samuel Jacobs for top firearms scores. One cadet who passed away before his graduation was Manuel Calderon. He was given a special tribute and his family was honored with a duplicate of the class flag created by his graduating class.

SFSC’s Basic Law Enforcement career certificate program trains students to become law enforcement officers in Florida. By successfully completing the program, they are eligible to take the state certification examination to become certified law enforcement officers. The program runs 770 contact hours or approximately five months full time or approximately 10 months part time.

The Correction to Law Enforcement (Crossover) career certificate program trains currently employed corrections officers to become law enforcement officers in Florida. Upon successful completion of the program, graduates are eligible to take the state certification examination to become certified law enforcement officers. The program runs 515 contact hours or approximately 10 months part time.

For more information about either of these programs, visit southflorida.edu or call SFSC’s Criminal Justice Academy at 863-784-7285.

[Not pictured: Amy Hines]

AVON PARK, Fla. – Dec. 11, 2020 – The Forty and Eight Voiture 899, based in Highlands County, presented scholarships for the fall academic term and commemorative nurses’ training Forty and Eight emblem lapel pins to four South Florida State College (SFSC) nursing students.

Amy Hines, a student who is working toward her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), received a $375 scholarship; Whitney Wood, a student working toward her BSN, received a $250 scholarship; Giselle Mendez, who is working toward her Associate in Science in Nursing (ADN), received a $500 scholarship; and Shanice Lewis, a student working toward her Practical Nursing (PN) career certificate, received a $500 scholarship. The scholarship money may be used to help offset the cost of tuition, books, or any other needs associated with their studies.

The Forty and Eight scholarship was established through the SFSC Foundation. Criteria for the scholarship are that the student must be enrolled in one of SFSC’s nursing programs and must be enrolled at least half time in their respective program.

“It’s important to support nursing students because nursing is vital to keeping a community healthy,” said Scottie-Ann Murphy, past Chef de Gare of the Voiture 899. “Anyone in the medical field is needed, especially during this pandemic. These people work endlessly.”

The Forty and Eight is a national organization of war veterans and a longtime sponsor of nurses’ training. As of July 2020, the Forty and Eight across the United States has expended over $34,400,000 toward scholarships and assisted 52,186 nurses in obtaining their nursing degrees.

SFSC offers an online BSN program, a two-year ADN program, an 11-month PN career certificate program, and a 13-month Transition Nursing (Licensed Practical Nursing to Registered Nurse) program. For more information, visit southflorida.edu.

Nursing students

AVON PARK, Fla. ‒ Dec. 10, 2020 ‒ During the December meeting of South Florida State College’s (SFSC) District Board of Trustees, 24 students studying for careers in the health sciences at SFSC received $24,324 in scholarships.

Florida Blue Nursing and Allied Health Scholarships were awarded to SFSC students in nursing, dental education, and radiography programs. The students may use the scholarships for tuition, textbooks, lab fees, and childcare.

Nursing students

Students receiving the scholarships are studying within three health science disciplines:

  • Nursing: Angelica Alicea of Highlands County, Teresa Baker of Highlands County, Elisar Cleto of Hardee County, Caitlin Cwalinski of Highlands County, Vanessa Davidson of Highlands County, Ray Nino Espidol of Highlands County, Abigail Fraga of Highlands County, Breanna Lee of Highlands County, Eduardo Magana of Highlands County, Erin McGlinchey of Highlands County, Jessica Morris of Hardee County, Ivone Nava of Highlands County, Stephanie Quezada of DeSoto County, and Diana Tello of Highlands County
  • Dental Education: Deborah Figuero of Hardee County, Sebrina Gillilan of Highlands County, Jasmine Gutierrez-Montes of Hardee County, Noel Henry of Polk County, and Jaylin Maynard of DeSoto County
  • Radiography: Abigail Doucet of Highlands County, Rebecca Nadaskay of Hardee County, Niki Rast of Hardee County, and Brittanie West of Highlands County

Dental Education students

The scholarships are the result of a partnership between the Florida College System (FCS) Foundation and Florida Blue. The Florida Blue Nursing and Allied Health Scholarship was created to sustain a source of funding for student scholarships at Florida colleges to meet the growing need for skilled nurses and allied health professionals who serve the state’s diverse population. The SFSC Foundation provided a 50% match of the original award from the FCS Foundation and Florida Blue, as the funds must be matched dollar for dollar by private donors at the local level.

“Because of Florida Blue’s commitment to education, SFSC students are provided with the resources they need to complete their programs of study. The scholarships also allow the students to focus time and energy on their coursework, as many of these programs require intensive study and clinical commitments,” said Jamie Bateman, SFSC’s executive director of institutional advancement. “These students will soon begin their careers in nursing, dental care, and radiography—all of which play a critical role in keeping our community safe and healthy.”

Radiography students

The FCS Foundation, based in Tallahassee, is a nonprofit organization that solicits gifts and donations from corporations and individuals for distribution to Florida’s 28 community and state colleges. SFSC has received scholarships for health sciences students since 2006. Florida Blue, previously known as Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, provides individual and group health insurance to millions of Floridians.

Celtic Angels

AVON PARK, Fla. – Dec. 8, 2020 The Alan Jay Wildstein Center for the Performing Arts at South Florida State College (SFSC) reopens on Saturday, Jan. 9, with two performances of the popular Elvis Birthday Bash starring Mike Albert and Scot Bruce.

“We’ve reduced our seating capacity from 1,460 seats to 440,” explained Cindy Garren, director of cultural programs at SFSC. “We will offer two performances of most shows so that we can accommodate 880 people.” Show times for the Elvis Birthday Bash are 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.  Tickets begin at $32 with a $10 ticket for children and students.

Tickets for all performances can be purchased as a party of two, three, four, or six. Limited single tickets are also available. “Each party is socially distanced, so there is no one seated in front, behind, or six feet on either side,” said Garren. “We are following recommendations by the CDC, the Event Safety Alliance, and the Performing Arts Center Consortium Guides to Reopening.”

Several new protocols have been implemented at the Wildstein Center due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Face masks are required, including during the performance and throughout the venue. Performances will run 75–90 minutes without an intermission. Hand sanitizing stations have been generously positioned throughout the building and the venue will be disinfected and sanitized prior to all performances.

“We will not offer concessions to eliminate movement throughout the building,” added Garren, “Patrons may bring a plastic bottle of water into the theater.” Additional measures include:  hands-free ticketing, physical distancing in all areas, temperature checks for staff, volunteers, and performers, and sanitizing of high-touch areas. A complete list of covid protocols are listed on the website at sfscARTS.org.

The popular Matinee performances will be offered on most Tuesdays with 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. shows. Country music star Jim Stafford; Ted Vigil’s Tribute to John Denver; Shades of Bublé; Rhinestone Cowboy Memories: A Glen Campbell Tribute; international recording artist Bertie Higgins; Tony Monaco and Turnstiles: A Billy Joel Tribute; America’s Sweethearts; Sail On: A Beach Boys tribute; and Chi-Town Transit Authority are scheduled to appear. Tickets begin at $15.

Canadian Brass

Due to reduced seating capacity, SFSC Performing Arts is not offering a series subscription package, group sales, or the 5-for-15 discount.

Family friendly performances with a $10 child/student ticket are: Elvis Birthday Bash; REZA: Edge of Illusion Magic; New Shanghai Circus; the amazing Catapult Shadow Dancers; and Johnny Peers & The Muttville Comix. Tickets begin at $15 for adults.

Live jazz returns with all performances at the Alan Jay Wildstein Center for the Performing Arts.  Rising jazz vocalist and pianist Tony DeSare, who has been called “two parts young Sinatra and one part Billy Joel,” is scheduled for Jan. 21 at 7 p.m. Eddie Metz, Nikki Parrott, and Rossano Sportiello will deliver a swinging set on Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. Stride piano stars Stephanie Trick and Paolo Alderighi will perform Four Hands, Two Pianos on Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. Tickets begin at $25.

The Modern Gentlemen, the quartet that backed Frankie Valli for a decade, will present a high energy pop and doo wop concert on Jan. 22. Top selling Christian artist, Michael W. Smith, who sells out shows around the world and has sold over 15 million albums, will appear Feb. 13. ABBA MANIA, the official tribute show that started it all, recreates the music by one of the world’s finest pop groups on Feb. 19. Celtic Angels will return for an all-new show with Irish music and dance on March 4. Canadian Brass, the world’s most popular brass quintet, perform on March 10 and March 11 at 7 p.m.

All artists, times, dates, and shows are subject to change and/or cancel. In the event of a cancelation, ticketholders will be notified and issued a refund.

A complete schedule, videos, and ticket information are available online at sfscARTS.org. The SFSC Box Office is open Monday–Friday, 11:30 a.m. –2:30 p.m. The Alan Jay Wildstein Center for the Performing Arts is located on the Highlands Campus of South Florida State College at 600 West College Drive in Avon Park. Parking is free. For more information, call 863-784-7178.

Scott with son, Jacob

Scott with son, Jacob

AVON PARK, Fla. – Dec. 4, 2020 – J.C. Scott will be one of 162 graduates crossing the stage during South Florida State College’s (SFSC) Commencement ceremony on Thursday, Dec. 17. He will receive an Associate in Arts, an Associate in Science in Landscape and Horticulture Technology, a College Credit Certificate in Landscape and Horticulture Technician, and a College Credit Certificate in Landscape and Horticulture Professional.

An Avon Park native, Scott is a farmer and recently started a small, local business. But his interest in law enforcement took him across the country, only to bring him back to his hometown.

Scott graduated from Avon Park High School in 2005 and received his diploma while in boot camp with the U.S. Coast Guard. “I wanted to go into law enforcement and into the military,” he said. “But I was torn as to which career to pursue. I decided to join the Coast Guard because it’s the only military service with law enforcement authority. And I grew up on the water and fished all the time.”

Immediately out of boot camp, Scott was assigned to a station in Homer, a town with a population of 6,000 in south-central Alaska, where he served as a Boatswain’s Mate (BM). “I was on a 225-foot seagoing buoy tender,” he said. “Our main job was to service aids to navigation—all the red and green buoys that indicate where it’s safe to navigate. We sailed from one end of Alaska to the other and went out to the Aleutian Islands. From there, you could see Russia in the distance. We would pull into little towns that had a population of 30 or 40 and we would double the population just by showing up.”

Scott was then assigned to a small boat search and rescue station in Destin, Fla., where he served for four years. During the time Scott served in Destin, his station conducted 350 search and rescue cases. “I was on about one third of those,” he said. “We worked on everything from plane crashes to flare sightings to lightning strikes to boat collisions. We also did a lot of recreational boardings—such as checking for life jackets and fire extinguishers.”

They also checked charter boats to make sure they had proper firefighting capabilities and weren’t dumping sewage or gray water. And they made sure that tug boats and barges had appropriate licenses.

The Coast Guard soon offered a rating specific to law enforcement called the Maritime Enforcement Specialist (MES). It was right up Scott’s alley, so he applied. “The BM does law enforcement but it’s a collateral duty—an added duty. For a Maritime Enforcement Specialist, law enforcement and all aspects of it are your whole career.”

When Scott was accepted as an MES, he was transferred to Chesapeake, Va. to the Maritime Security Response Team (MSRT), where he began a six-year billet.

“The MSRT specializes as a CBRNE unit,” he said. “It’s a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high yield explosives unit. An example is if intelligence was obtained that a container ship coming in had a dirty bomb or a biological weapon on it and the perpetrators planned to detonate it somewhere in the United States. MSRT is specially trained to handle that situation, take care of the terrorists, and secure the weapon.

So, we trained in full chemical gear — a rubber suit with a gas mask. You’re completely sealed in this suit so you can operate in that environment. Then you have your kit on top of that—ceramic-plated body armor, all your weapons, all your breaching equipment, and all your testing equipment to see what kind of environment you’re in. You’re wearing 60 to 80 lbs. of gear, and it’s like wearing a sauna suit with a gas mask.”

Scott trained for two years with the MSRT when disaster happened. While heading across the top of an obstacle course, he slipped and fell, landing upside down. He hit his head and broke his back. Without knowing that he had damaged his back, he completed the obstacle course. Sometime later, he was at the firing range, lifted his rifle, and his right arm wouldn’t respond. A medical exam determined that cysts had developed in the middle of his spinal cord, causing him to lose function in his right arm.

So instead of continuing training in Chesapeake, Scott was sent to a small boat station in Ketchikan, Alaska, where he was placed in charge of the armory and headed the law enforcement training program.  

“I loved that unit,” he said. “I had a great command and I worked hard for them and they worked hard to make sure I got all the treatment I needed.” Eventually, he took a medical retirement after 11 years in the Coast Guard and returned home to Highlands County, Fla.

When Scott first returned home, he walked with a cane and his right side was shutting down because of the cyst. But he and wife, Stephanie, got a small vegetable farm up and running. But Hurricane Irma descended, wiping out the farm. When it was re-established, the Scotts lost bushels of produce due to theft.

But Scott’s determination prevailed. “I knew I wanted to do something in agriculture,” he said. While at MSRT, gardening became Scott’s stress relief. He and Stephanie raised chickens and meat rabbits and had grown a large vegetable garden that supplied much of their family food while in Chesapeake, Va.

“MSRT was stressful,” he said. “You jumped out of helicopters and shot guns all day and wore heavy kit while doing it. I needed good stress relief, and gardening provided the nice quiet time that I needed.”

With the assistance of the GI Bill, Scott applied to SFSC to study agriculture. It was also the point at which he found a doctor who helped restore the mobility in his legs and arms.

In 2019, Scott and his wife purchased a house on 10 acres that’s almost a stone’s throw from his family home. “It’s about a quarter of a mile from where I grew up,” he said. “I joined the Coast Guard, went to Alaska and Virginia, and just ended up right back less than a mile from there.”

Although Scott’s health concerns were progressing in a positive direction, he still had trouble bending over to harvest vegetables and decided to focus on fruit trees. “A friend of mine gave me some mangoes that he grows at his house,” he said. “I didn’t even like mangoes before, because the ones you get at the grocery store don’t taste very good. But the mangoes from my friend were another story and that got me headed down the mango road.”

While researching mango cultivation, he was discouraged from growing mangoes in Highlands County. “The University of Florida told me that you can’t grow mangoes here,” he said. “But if you drive through Avon Park, I don’t think I can count as high as the number of mango trees that grow here. My friend’s mango tree is over 70 years old, so it survived all the freezes we’ve had. Although mango trees are vulnerable to cold, you have to take precautions but it’s do-able. I’ve taken a lot of citrus courses at the College. Because the nutritional requirements for mangos are so similar to citrus, that information has been helpful.”

Currently, Scott has an acre grove on which he’s testing up to 27 varieties of mangoes. In the meantime, he and Stephanie have started a coffee business—not growing coffee but selling it. “My wife wanted a coffee business and I want to be a farmer. A mango grove takes a few years to get going and it costs money to get everything established. You have to wait, so we started the coffee business to fund the farm to get it on its feet. My end of it is that I get to sell produce from it on the side. I started selling vegetables because it’s locally grown, organic produce. Many local produce stands get their vegetables from Plant City and much of that produce comes from overseas.”

Scott explained that mangoes are a higher value crop and although 500 varieties of mango exist, only two varieties are sold in the United States. Scott wants to expand the market and the flavor palate. “I never knew that there were mangoes that tasted like orange sherbet or piña colada or pineapple, or coconut.”

“When we decided to start the coffee business, we wanted to stand out,” Scott said. “I grew up in agriculture—that’s what I wanted to do. So we decided we would take a horse trailer and convert it into a coffee trailer that had that branding and look.” Scott’s coffee business was named partly for his grandfather’s cattle ranch brand: Rocking JS. And as luck would have it, all five of his children’s names, including his foster daughter, begin with the letter “J.”

“We serve coffee- and expresso-based drinks,” he said. “All of our coffee drinks that aren’t espresso are cold brewed.” The coffee business opened in the middle of Tropical Storm Eta and the Scotts’ coffee trailer is often seen during festivals and other such local events.

After earning two degrees and two College Credit Certificates in agriculture from SFSC, Scott would like to continue his education toward a bachelor’s degree in agriculture. “I know that SFSC partners with Warner University in Lake Wales, Fla. to accept the agriculture degree,” he said. “I haven’t looked into it too much at the moment because I’m looking forward to the break from college next semester.”

Scott has educational advice for prospective students. “Just going blindly and wanting a bachelor’s degree in a certain field that they don’t know much about can cause people problems,” he said. “The Career Development Center at SFSC is really good about helping people learn about all aspects of a potential job and the degree they would need for that particular job. People should spend time in the Career Development Center before they pick their major.”

“J.C. and I met when I was working in SFSC’s Advising and Counseling Center,” said Rob Hampton, director of the SFSC Career Development Center and the College’s Veterans Affairs certifying officer. “I was advising him for our A.S. in Landscape and Horticulture Technology program and we started talking about agriculture. We figured out quickly that we, as two old veterans, had a passion for agriculture. And there have been many times when I reached out for some farming advice. Thanks to J.C., my green thumb has gotten a lot greener.”

AVON PARK, Fla. – Dec. 4, 2020 – South Florida State College (SFSC) celebrates Commencement in three ceremonies on Thursday, Dec. 17, on the Highlands Campus. Graduates will be honored from both the spring 2020 graduating class and those graduating in December 2020. A completion ceremony will be held for students receiving their State of Florida High School diplomas through the Adult Education program on Wednesday, Dec. 16.

Because of limited attendance due to the pandemic, live online streaming will be available at the beginning of each ceremony and can be accessed by clicking a banner on the SFSC website homepage.

The number of students participating in the December Commencement ceremonies will total 162.

Approximately 462 students met the SFSC requirements for spring 2020 Commencement. Of these, 21 received their Bachelor of Science in Supervision and Management (BAS-SM), 10 received their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), 13 received their Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education (BSEE), 205 received their Associate in Arts (A.A.), 73 received their Associate in Science (A.S.), five received their State of Florida High School diplomas, and 135 received career certificates and college credit certificates.

Approximately 255 students will have met the SFSC requirements by December Commencement. Of these, 13 will receive their BAS-SM, one will receive their BSEE, 95 will receive their A.A., 33 receive their A.S., 19 will receive their State of Florida High School diplomas, and 94 will receive career certificates and college credit certificates.

The mace bearer and chief marshal for this year’s ceremony is Beth Andrews. Marshals are Tom Bohan, Kathleen Cappo, Joan Davies, Rob Hampton, Theresa James, Cindy Kinser, Ricardo Pantoja, Lena Phelps, Andy Polk, and Tina Stetson.