Texarkana College celebrated the graduation of 275 students who completed their degree or certificate in Spring 2021 during a virtual graduation ceremony that debuted online on Thursday, May 13, 2021 but remains available online on the TC website and on YouTube. The virtual event was pre-filmed over a six-day period allowing graduates to participate in a private ceremony with a few family members and TC faculty and staff. 132 graduates participated in the private, pre-filming ceremony allowing each participant to walk the stage, turn their tassel, and receive their diploma.
This year, three students were selected to speak as representatives of their graduating class. Shamela Pickings who earned an Associate of Arts in Education-Teaching EC-6, opened the ceremony with an invocation and the Pledge of Allegiance; Maia Brown, who earned an Associate of Arts degree with a concentration in Fine Arts, presented the student address; and, Terrance Harris, who completed his certificate in welding, closed the ceremony with a benediction. Lee Williams III, TC’s Director of Admissions and Education Opportunity Center, coordinated the virtual graduation events and said participation was the largest since the beginning of the pandemic.
“This is the third graduation ceremony we have held in a virtual format since the beginning of the pandemic in Spring 2020,” said Williams. “We were so pleased at the interest from our graduates to participate in the private ceremonies and to allow us to film them during this special time in their lives. Although it took a lot of coordinating on behalf of TC’s faculty and staff, we are so proud to be able to share this momentous occasion with our community who can now click the link and view the ceremony at their convenience. We are grateful for all the family members and friends who came to support their graduate and share in the celebration!”
During the student address, Brown said that the class of 2021 is unstoppable.
“We all battled virtual learning, poor internet connectivity, a toilet paper shortage, and six months of quarantine,” said Brown. “Class consisted mainly of the words “You’re on mute,” and “Can you hear me now?” as we all tried to figure out Microsoft Teams. All of us got through that, and we came out of it with a degree in our over-washed and hand-sanitizer-covered hands. That’s what makes this graduating class special.”
Brown, who graduated with highest honors, came to TC as a Presidential Scholar after graduating from Queen City High School in 2019. She is a Presidential Scholar and Honors College student and has served as a student ambassador. Brown is the president of the Zeta Sigma chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society and the president of Texarkana College Student Government Association where she has served on the Awards Committee on the regional and state level. To conclude her speech, Brown encouraged fellow graduates to keep believing in themselves.
“Every single person receiving their degree did it while the world was turned completely upside down and in a way no one was familiar with,” said Brown. “We adapted to our new and weird way of life and didn’t let anything stop us. Class of 2021, you showed 2020 that you are unstoppable. You believed you could do it and you did it! You’ve already shown the world that you can do amazing things even in the most difficult circumstances so keep that spirit for the rest of your life!”
A link to the virtual ceremony and a download of the graduation program listing every graduate’s name, degree or certificate earned, and honors received is available at on the TC website here: https://www.texarkanacollege.edu/current-students/graduation/virtual/ or you may watch the ceremony on YouTube at https://youtu.be/XHfxqAbtml4.