After persevering through one of the most difficult years in recent memory, hundreds of Delta College students will be honored at the College’s virtual Commencement ceremony.
The ceremony will be broadcast at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 15. A link will be available that morning at deltacollege.edu.
A total of 2,577 students have applied for graduation, earning a total of 3,990 degrees and 558 certificates. Upwards of 700 students are expected to participate in Saturday’s ceremony.
“It is awe-inspiring to contemplate the achievements of our graduates in the middle of this pandemic,” said Delta College Superintendent/President Dr. Omid Pourzanjani. “Some of them have taken on additional childcare responsibilities. Some have been struggling financially. Others have lost loved ones to this virus.
“Their ability to push through and finish their education is a tremendous inspiration to all of us.”
The virtual ceremony will include many of the same features as traditional Commencement, right down to the conferring of degrees and the turning of the tassels. Hundreds of students have submitted photos and quotes for personalized graduation slides.
Serving as the Student Speaker for graduation will be Anmol Sharma, who got off to a rough start in college. While taking a fulltime load of science courses, she was working no fewer than four jobs. She couldn’t afford a car and had to rely on public transportation to get to the college.
It was just too much. Her grades slipped. She failed some of those courses.
Her world was “crumbling.”
This was when Delta’s MESA program came to the rescue. MESA helps prepare first-generation Delta students for careers in STEM fields. In Sharma’s case, MESA provided the support she needed to weather the storm and stay in school, letting her know about scholarship and internship opportunities and staying in close contact with her through email and text messages.
Now she’s graduating and heading off to Cal Poly, where she plans to complete her undergraduate degree in aerospace engineering.
Anmol urges other students to work through their challenges, take advantage of the many support programs at Delta, and just keep going.
“There will be chances where you will feel discouraged, you will stumble and feel like an imposter in your own environment,” she said. “However, always remember why you have started your journey and the struggles you have been through to date.”
Alumni Speaker is Dr. Maricela Salcedo-Prado, a 2008 Delta College graduate who went on to earn a doctorate of dental surgery and is now providing dental care to uninsured and low-income residents in the Bay Area.
Getting to this point wasn’t easy. As a woman of color in science and healthcare fields, and as the first member of her family to graduate high school and college, Salcedo-Prado sometimes felt lost or out of place.
But at Delta and later at the University of the Pacific and the University of San Francisco, she found the support she needed to make it happen. At Delta Salcedo-Prado was a member of Puente, a national program that has helped thousands of students transfer to universities.
Now more than ever, she considers it an “obligation” to reach out to younger students who are following in her footsteps, urging them to pursue higher education and ultimately diversify their professions.
“I was once told by a Hispanic dentist, you are your biggest enemy,” she told graduates. “Do not put limitations on what you can achieve or be. You can do anything if you set your mind on it.”
For more ceremony details, visit deltacollege.edu/commencement.