Sunday, May 27 , 2018, 6:01 am | Fair 51º


Santa Barbara City College Celebrates Newest Batch of Graduates

More than 1,500 students received degrees, with many joining ceremonies at La Playa Stadium

More than 1,500 students graduated Friday from Santa Barbara City College, with many attending graduation ceremonies at La Playa Stadium Click to view larger
More than 1,500 students graduated Friday from Santa Barbara City College, with many attending graduation ceremonies at La Playa Stadium (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

Santa Barbara City College celebrated its newest batch of graduates Friday evening as members of the Class of 2017 were recognized by name as they walked across the stage to receive their diplomas and turn their tassels.

SBCC graduated more than 1,500 students for the 2016-17 academic year, and approximately 600 smiling faces participated in the ceremony under sunny skies and overlooking panoramic ocean views at La Playa Stadium.

The average GPA of the graduating class is 3.23, and 52 students finished with 4.0 GPAs, according to SBCC Director of Communications Luz Reyes-Martin.

The average age of the graduating class is 26, with the oldest at 72 and the youngest at 17 years old. The graduates sat alongside 38 peers who are or were veterans serving in the military.

SBCC offers more than 200 degrees and certificates in a variety of departments and programs.

Once seated, the graduates, many with the tops of their mortarboards customized with glitter or the name of their new transfer school, were greeted with the sound of air horns, cheers and shouts of their family, friends and SBCC staff.

Commencement speaker and graduating student Matthew Poulin served as the ceremony’s featured speaker. 

Poulin, a Dos Pueblos High School alumnus, studied at SBCC for 10 years.

“I’ve watched graduation after graduation,” Poulin said. “Finally, after years of sitting on the sidelines as a guest, I am here to walk across the stage as a graduate.”

Poulin delivered a challenge for SBCC graduates to embody the characteristics of patience and perseverance when faced with obstacles and confrontations.

Learning disabilities and physical limitations created challenges throughout Poulin’s education, he said. 

Many graduates decorated their mortar boards for graduation ceremonies Friday at Santa Barbara City College. Click to view larger
Many graduates decorated their mortar boards for graduation ceremonies Friday at Santa Barbara City College. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

“It hurts to want to aspire to be something and be told ‘no’ for reasons beyond your control,” Poulin said. “And yet, here I am. It pays to be patient.”

Poulin thanked the Disability Services and Programs for Students service for his success and his induction into the Phi Theta Kappa academic honor society.

“They supported me through the trials and tribulation of my learning disabilities by encouraging me not to give up,” Poulin said. “It pays to persevere — never forget that. Even with all the support in the world, it comes back to patience and perseverance.”

Santa Barbara City College President Anthony Beebe said he was proud of the “mighty’ Class of 2017.

Beebe encouraged the graduates to introduce one person to college-level education — whether it be a sibling, family member, neighbor or complete stranger. 

“You can’t be elitist or selfish about your education — you must spread the word,” Beebe said. “With all of this educational success, you (the graduates) have a huge responsibility and obligation. Our mission is to promote education, independent thinkers and expand knowledge by providing open educational access to everyone in the community.”

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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