Dr. Mark Bukowski and Trent Ferguson

Dr. Mark Bukowski, dean of students, presents a plaque of appreciation to Trent Ferguson, student Commencement speaker.

AVON PARK, Fla. – May 11, 2022 – South Florida State College (SFSC) marked the end of the 2021-22 academic year with its spring Commencement held in two ceremonies on Tuesday, May 10 in the SFSC Alan Jay Wildstein Center for the Performing Arts on the Highlands Campus in Avon Park.

During the 4:30 p.m. ceremony, SFSC honored the recipients of the Associate in Arts and State of Florida High School Diploma.

Honored during the 7:30 p.m. ceremony were students who earned their Bachelor of Applied Science in Supervision and Management (BAS-SM), Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education (BSEE), Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), Associate in Science (AS), and Career and College Credit certificates.

Opening the ceremonies, Tami Cullens, chair of the SFSC District Board of Trustees told the graduates, “Class of 2022, tonight you will become part of the greater South Florida State College family, an affiliation we hope brings joy throughout your lives. Tomorrow, you are a brighter light to those around you, sharing your knowledge and making a difference in our world.”

In his presentation to the graduates during the 4:30 p.m. ceremony, Trent Ferguson, who earned his Associate in Arts and holds a multitude of jobs in the radio industry, said, “I’m totally blind due to an eye condition called Optic Nerve Hypoplasia and attended the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind in St. Augustine. Learning new information has so many benefits. Knowledge cannot be taken from you. Once it’s in your brain, it’s there to stay. You can use your knowledge to help others learn and grow. You become well-versed and more confident. Always be willing to step out of your comfort zone and make knowledge your superpower. I wish you a lifetime of happiness, good health, and success.”

Shelby Spencer

Shelby Spencer, student Commencement speaker

The 7:30 p.m. ceremony featured Shelby Spencer, who earned her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education (BSEE) and anticipates becoming a kindergarten teacher. “I encourage you to always have a positive attitude no matter the situation,” she said to the graduates. “Always look on the bright side and keep faith. Don’t ever give up or have a negative outlook on your life. The path can get rocky, but I encourage you to be in constant prayer and always think positive. In preparation for becoming an elementary school teacher, I’ve been researching how I’d like to decorate my classroom. I found this quote about attitude: ‘A great attitude becomes a great day, which becomes a great month, which becomes a great year, which becomes a great life!’ Start your day with a positive attitude and your life will be richer for it.”

Dr. Thomas C. Leitzel, SFSC president, acknowledged the upcoming retirement of Darlene Saccuzzo, professor of Dental Education, who was recognized for 15 years of excellence in scholarly contributions to students and the College.

Approximately 440 students met the SFSC requirements by spring 2022 Commencement. Of these, 21 received their BAS-SM, 10 received their BSN, 12 received their BSEE, 197 received their AA, 93 received their AS, 10 received their State of Florida High School Diploma, and 97 received the Career and College Credit certificates. Students participating in the Commencement ceremonies totaled 286.

Mace bearer and chief marshal for this year’s ceremony was Tom Bush, and marshals were Michele Macbeth, Joan Briand, Jennifer Groves, Kathleen Cappo, Rob Hampton, Ricardo Pantoja, Dr. Maday Leon, Garrett Lee, Cindy Kinser, Tina Stetson, Kendra Wellnitz, Mlisa Manning, Andy Polk, Michael Pate, Richard Hitt, and Dr. Mintoo Patel.