June 4, 2021

In an encouraging sign of a slow and gradual return back to normal, Piedmont Technical College (PTC) on May 6 conducted two in-person graduation ceremonies. Nearly 140 spring term graduates made their time-honored walk across the stage and shifted their tassels from right to left at the Medford Family Event Center in Greenwood. That evening, in a separate ceremony, about 50 graduates from the entire 2020 academic year who wished to participate in person did the same. They already had officially graduated via virtual ceremonies last year.

PTC President Dr. Hope E. Rivers delivered remarks emphasizing how the sum total of every little step forward, no matter how small, represents progress. She encouraged the graduates to take notice and enjoy those small moments.

After removing her mask to speak at the socially distanced ceremony, Dr. Rivers noted that, although restrictions were in place, the fact that all attending at long last were under the same roof represented significant strides.

To make progress takes discipline. It takes commitment. It takes perseverance,” she said. “The fact that we are all here under the same roof today, physically present, to celebrate the milestone of graduation for the first time in a year is momentous. … The fact that you are here today, that you have prevailed over the hardships of the past year, shows you have developed those important qualities necessary to move forward. … As graduates, I encourage you to live in this moment.”

Rivers commended the graduates for their perseverance throughout the past year and noted that it is the unglamorous, routine things — such as waking to their alarms each morning, logging in to their virtual classes or making the trek to campus for labs and in-person classes — that ultimately build on the greater continuum that constitutes progress. Their efforts, she suggested, did not go unnoticed.

“The most important part of all of this routine is that you were brave enough to continue to show up! Believe it or not, simply ‘showing up’ demonstrates the tenacity needed for success. Some days you cover more ground than others. Some days you might even lose ground, but the lessons learned, even from disappointments, are progress, too,” Rivers said. “Today you celebrate this educational milestone from a perspective that has been forever altered. Your experience at PTC has been like no one else’s before you. I’m hoping you have realized some silver linings as you navigated through these challenges.”

Rivers concluded her remarks with a reminder that perseverance is always rewarded.

“As the saying goes, it’s often the very last key you try that opens the lock. I am so proud of you for sticking with it and ultimately finding that key to unlock your future. Congratulations to all of you!”

Both ceremonies were shared live via the college’s Facebook page and YouTube channels. A recording can be viewed at www.ptc.edu/live.