More than 310 students from nine states and 11 different countries picked up associate degrees Thursday night during Darton State College’s Annual Spring Commencement exercise at the Cavalier Arena. (Staff Photo: Terry Lewis)
ALBANY — More than 310 students from nine states and 11 different countries picked up associate degrees Thursday night during Darton State College’s Annual Spring Commencement exercise at the Cavalier Arena.
Prior to the long walk from the Campus’ J Building to the arena, the graduates lined up in rows and nervous laughter filled the room as they adjusted their caps and gowns waiting to begin their march into the next phase of their lives.
Kayla Bowden of Leesburg had earned her A.A. in Business Administration.
“I’m a little nervous and excited at the same time. I knew that day would eventually come, but it seems like it took a long time,” she said. “Now I have to decide whether to go to school at Kennesaw, Valdosta State or Georgia Southwestern.
Jeremiah Lauderdale of Albany, who picked up an A.S. in Biology, said he was ready to take the next step in his life.
“I’m pretty excited right know, I have been waiting on this day, he said. “I’m ready to to go to Georgia Southwestern and get my B.S. in Biology. I really want to work with animals, maybe in someplace like a zoo.”
Kanya Lewis, who earned an A.S. in Health Sciences, was so excited that he arrived at the college early.
“I am very nervous and I rushed to make it here,” Lewis said. “I hope most of my family will be here to see me because I am so ready to graduate.”
Lewis said he plans on attending Valdosta State University in the fall, with hopes of becoming an athletic trainer.
I want to graduate and move somewhere in Florida and work with an NFL or soccer team. I’d like to also find a wife, have some kids and be comfortable.”
Tim Brooks of Bridgeboro, who earned an A.S. in Economics, was enjoying the moment.
“I’m feeling pretty good right now, this is satisfying,” Brooks said. “I have a job selling insurance with AFLA and I plan on getting my B.S. online. I’m pretty solid where I’m at right now.”
Amy Burns of Albany, who earned an associate degree in Criminal Justice, was ready to get graduation behind her.
Burns said. “I earned it because I studied hard,” said Burns, who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in criminal behavior.
Steve Wrigley, the executive vice chancellor for the University System of Georgia, delivered the keynote address.
“Focus on your successes not your failures,” Wrigley told the new graduates. “Learn to laugh at yourself because it builds confidence, and always remember to show courage in difficult times.”