McALLEN — Over 3,300 newly minted South Texas College graduates were recognized Saturday in a virtual ceremony.
There was music, motivational speeches and all the hallmarks of a regular graduation, streamed live by the college.
“On behalf of our faculty, staff, administration, and Board of Trustees we extend a sincere congratulations to our graduating class of 2021 for your hard work, dedication, and perseverance during the challenging times we have faced,” interim STC President David Plummer told the graduates. “You are to be commended for rising above the adversity faced during your educational journey. For many of you, you are the first in your family to receive a degree. You now serve as a foundation and inspiration for others in your family to begin their educational journey.”
Saturday’s graduates faced an unprecedented year, tackling the challenges of online learning and social distancing. Plummer referenced those challenges in his speech.
“The journey was not easy, but you did it. All while maintaining your goals and the mission of continuing your education,” he said.
One of Saturday’s graduates was Yamilex Rodriguez, 19, who earned an associate of arts degree in teaching. Rodriguez didn’t tune in Saturday; she was starting a new job.
Rodriguez was planning on having her brother record the ceremony so she could watch it later, and was planning on celebrating with her family
“I’m still in shock, I can’t believe I finished this quickly,” Rodriguez, who is 19, said. “It feels unrealistic, but at the end of the day the hard work does pay off to graduate early.”
Rogriguez says she watched her communication and grammar skills during her two years at the college.
“It was a learning experience being at STC,” she said. “I learned a lot from every professor, every professor is different. I know that there’s a big difference between teaching college students and teaching kids, because I want to be an elementary teacher, but you know the concept still applies. At the end of the day, they are teachers, they are professors, so I learned a lot from each professor.”
Although she doesn’t have a teaching job lined up yet, Rodriguez says she’s confident she’ll get one — in part because of the challenges she faced and overcame learning during the pandemic.
“Honestly when i started school, it wasn’t very difficult,” she said. “But sophomore year, all of the sudden it was online, because you had to rely on yourself. But it was a good experience, a learning experience.”
STC’s commencement ceremony is available at https://www.southtexascollege.edu/graduation/.