One hundred twenty-five Pinellas Technical Education Center (PTEC) graduates celebrated their commencement on Thursday, July 17 at the Countryside Christian Center in Clearwater.

With hundreds of family members, friends and faculty in attendance, PTEC graduates dressed in caps and gowns accepted their diplomas and prepared to start their new careers and promising futures.

“They were very excited to be called alumni now. It was so wonderful to see and to share in their joy and success,” said PTEC Assistant Administrator Dr. Raidiah Dent-Palmer.

That sentiment was shared by PTEC Assistant Administrator Eric McClendon. “Everyone was here to support the students to show how much we care about them,” McClendon said.

The evening’s commencement speaker was Ernest Hooper, the East Hillsborough Bureau chief and columnist for the Tampa Bay Times. He urged the graduates to persevere and continue to focus on their work ethic.

“Success isn’t about having all the right answers. Success isn’t about having all the right moves,” Hooper said. “No, success is about perseverance. Success is about realizing that a set-back is just a set-up for a comeback.”

ptecgradsceneStudent representative Loretta Snow congratulated her fellow graduates and reminded them to rely on their own “inner compass” as they embark on their professional journeys.

“PTEC has empowered you with the tools to draw your own map,” Snow said.

Other distinguished guests who were on hand to show their support for the graduates included: Dr. Michael A. Grego, Superintendent of Pinellas County Schools; Carol J. Cook, Pinellas County School Board Chairperson; Dr. William Corbett, Deputy Superintendent; David Barnes, Executive Director of Career Technical and Adult Education; Arlene Corbin, Director of PTEC St. Petersburg campus; Ann-Marie Clarke, Assistant Director of PTEC St. Petersburg campus; Roy Sweatman, SAC Member and Chairman of Machining Apprenticeship Advisory Committee; Alex Ditinno, PTEC faculty representative.

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