More than 3,400 Daytona State College grads encouraged to seek advanced degrees or certifications for career growth; put money aside for the long haul

Video and photos for Headline Surfer /  There's plenty of pomp and circumstance with four hours-plus of coverage of the Monday morning and afternoon Daytona State College graduation ceremonies from the Ocean Center, 101 N. Atlantic Ave., Daytona Beach, Florida.
Daytona State College Class of 2018 graduation / Headline SurferHENRY FREDERICK
Headline Surfer

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Sofia Rivas, the student government association president at Daytona State College, got right to the point as to what an education from DSC will provide her and her fellow 3,400-plus fellow graduates: "An equal opportunity to gain knowledge and expertise no matter your sex, gender race, religion or even age." 

In keeping with tradition, DSC's 58th commencement took place in two parts; however, ceremonies had been moved to earlier in the day to allow graduates more time to celebrate their accomplishments with family and friends. The first ceremony began at 10:30 a.m. for associate of science, certificate, and adult education candidates.

The second ceremony started at 2 p.m. for all bachelor's and associate of arts degree candidates.

It was during the morning graduation session where Rivas took center stage and delivered a strong message.

"You chose to surpass your limitations, your doubts and perhaps fears to reach for the sky and pursue a higher education here at Daytona State College," Rivas said from the podium.

And Rivas, 20, of Ormond Beach, prophetically added perhaps one of the greatest one-liners delivered during a local college graduation when she said, "Daytona State College has given us an equal opportunity to gain knowledge and expertise no matter your sex, gender race, religion or even age."

Rivas went on to encourage her fellow college graduates to maintain the "fearless confidence" that got them to this day, quoting Winston Churchill in part, stating, "Success is not fatal."  

And regardless of individual majors pursued, the future is bright for those who believe in themselves and the educations they have earned to this point.

"Our graduating class of 2018 is filled with intelligent minds, creative artists, strong athletes, passionate leaders and so much more," Rivas said. "That is clear that we will make our community, this natio, and the world a much better place." 

SofiA Rivas, Student Gov't Assn President addresses Daytona's State grads / Headline Surfer, Sofia Rivas, Daytona State Student Gov't Assn President, addresses fellow grads / Headline SurferIt was during the morning graduation session where Sofia Rivas, the student government association president at Daytona State College, took center stage and delivered a strong message.

"You chose to surpass your limitations, your doubts and perhaps fears to reach for the sky and pursue a higher education here at Daytona State College," Rivas said from the podium.

And Rivas, 20, of Ormond Beach,  prophetically added perhaps one of the greatest one-liners delivered during a  local college graduation when she said, "Daytona State College has given us an equal opportunity to gain knowledge and expertise no matter your sex, gender race, religion or even age." 

Rivas went on to encourage her fellow college graduates to maintain the "fearless confidence" that got them to this day, quoting Winston Churchill in part, stating, "Success is not fatal."  

And regardless of individual majors pursued, the future is bright for those who believe in themselves and the educations they have earned to this point.

"Our graduating class of 2018 is filled with intelligent minds, creative artists, strong athletes, passionate leaders and so much more," Rivas said. "That is clear that we will make our community, this nation, and the world a much better place." 

DSC's commencement exercises honored  419 bachelor's degree recipients. Among them were 239 graduates of Daytona State's Bachelor of Applied Science in Supervision and Management degree, which the college began offering over a decade ago, and 80 graduates of the college's Bachelor of Science in Nursing, which DSC launched in 2014.

The college offers 11 baccalaureate degrees in business, nursing, education, engineering and information technology, and has conferred nearly 3,500 bachelor's degrees since it transitioned in 2006 from a community college to a four-year-degree-granting state college.  The DSC Class of 2018 also included more than 1,500 associate of arts graduates.

The stats were proudly shared by Dr. Thomas Lobasso, president of Daytona State College, who noted many of DSC's baccalaureate recipients are working parents or have responsibilities that prohibit them from commuting long distances to go to class.

Many went back to school to improve their chances of promotion to higher positions, the college president added. Some chose Daytona State to prepare for a change in their careers. Others weighed the substantial cost savings gained by choosing a bachelor's degree from DSC. 

Many will continue their studies in a DSC baccalaureate degree program or smoothly transition as juniors to the University of Central Florida through DSC's Direct Connect to UCF partnership, or to other universities.

Over 600 students have earned their associate of science or associate of applied science degree, while another 800-plus will have taken the first step on their educational and career pathway by earning a certificate credential.

This year, over 2,000 graduated with honors, including 539 with high honors, and 49 have been inducted into the international honor society Phi Theta Kappa, based on their leadership skills, scholarship and community service.

Daytona State College graduates celebrate / Headline SurferThe college offers 11 baccalaureate degrees in business, nursing, education, engineering and information technology, and has conferred nearly 3,500 bachelor's degrees since it transitioned in 2006 from a community college to a four-year-degree-granting state college. The DSC Class of 2018 also included more than 1,500 associate of arts graduates.​

The stats were proudly shared by Dr. Thomas Lobasso,  president of Daytona State College, who noted many of DSC's baccalaureate recipients are working parents or have responsibilities that prohibit them from commuting long distances to go to class.

Many went back to school to improve their chances of promotion to a higher position, the college president added. Some chose Daytona State to prepare for a change in their careers. Others weighed the substantial cost savings gained by choosing a bachelor's degree from DSC. 

And as he continued rattling off figures, Lobasso brimmed with pride as to the type of students Daytona State College serves.

"Our graduates are the healthcare workers, police, (and) firefighters who keep our community safe and strong," Lobasso said. "They are our business managers, teachers, engineers, information technology professionals and entrepreneurs who drive the small businesses that make up 80 percent of our local economy." 

An additional 24 graduates were inducted this year into Sigma Beta Delta, the highest international recognition a business student can receive at a college or university, Lobasso said.

Sixty Associate Degree Nursing graduates this year were inducted into the Alpha Delta Nu national honor society, and 25 students were inducted into the Kappa Delta Pi international honor society for education graduates.

Fifteen students were inducted into the Daytona State College Hall of Fame, the highest honor that faculty can bestow upon a student.

More than 200 veterans earned their academic credentials this year. And, 208 graduates earned their associate of arts degree, associate of science or program certificate days before they receive their high school diploma through Daytona State's popular dual enrollment program, which provides an opportunity for high school students to earn college credits free of charge and get a head start on their college education.

Nearly 350 grads will have earned their adult high school diploma or GED as part of the Class of 2018. 

Stanley Escudero, the DSC board's vice chair and a retired foreign ambassador for the US government, also addressed the graduates during the afternoon session, imploring them to continue their intellectual standing with advanced degrees or certifications for job skills, reminding them "life is a learning process." 

But Escudero, who spent 19 years as a US ambassador in several former Soviet Union republics, had the graduates appluading to a Russian fable involving a farmer, a bird and a fox in the dead of winter and the lessons of survival.

The point Escudero stressed to the graduates was the fact that regardless of where they live or what career or vacation trhey choose, it's a "dog-eat-dog world" out there.

So if they are smart, they will take 5 percent of their gross earnings each week and put it in savings until retirement age and they will be that better off financially. Because they can't count on the government.

"Savings matter! Frugality matters! Planning ahead matters!" Escudero insisted. "You're going out into the world. And it's a world that doesn't owe you a damn thing."

Daytona State College Board Vice Chair Stanley Escudero at graduation / Headline SurferDaytona State College graduation / Headline SurferStanley Escudero, the DSC board's vice chair and a retired foreign ambassador for the US government, also addressed the graduates during the afternoon session, imploring them to continue their intellectual standing with advanced degrees or certifications for job skills, reminding them "life is a learning process."  

But Escudero, who spent 19 years as a US ambassador in several former Soviet Union republics, had the graduates appluading to a Russian fable involving a farmer, a bird and a fox in the dead of winter and the lessons of survival.

The point Escudero stressed to the graduates was the fact that regardless of where they live or what career or vacation they choose, it's a "dog-eat-dog world" out there.

So if they are smart, they will take 5 percent of their gross earnings each week and put it into savings until retirement age and they will be that better off financially. Becayuse they vcan't count on the government.  

"Savings matter! Frugality matters! Planning ahead matters!" Escudero said. "You're going out into the world. And it's a world that doesn't owe you a damn thing."

Many of the graduates took to heart Escudero's tough talk on the reality of life in the real world, applauding several times and breaking out into laughter at some of his pointed yet humorous remarks, including his advice not to expect anything from Washington in the way of help at retirement age.

"Escudero said the promises of government help is a "load of crap."

Daytona State College 2018 graduation fast facts infographic / Headline Surfer

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Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com for a decade now. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed dozens of journalism-industry awards in print anddigital platforms. Frederick is enrolled at Full Sail University in Winter Garden, FL, where he's three-fourths through the online Master of Arts program in New Media Journalism. His graduation is in August.