Joy, jubilance, and a bit of relief permeated the atmosphere on Thursday, May 11, at the Rowan College of South Jersey–Cumberland Campus (RCSJ) 4th annual Commencement ceremony. More than 300 students were on hand to celebrate their academic achievements with fellow graduates, family members, and friends.
Local government officials, administrators, and educators were also in attendance to support the graduates and acknowledge their accomplishments.
RCSJ students whooped, applauded, and cheered for their classmates as they walked across the stage to receive their diplomas.
Several students shared their thoughts and emotions about the paths they traveled to become Rowan College of South Jersey–Cumberland graduates.
Brittany Reaves, 28, West Creek, NJ, Business Management: I am so excited. The main reason is because it took me forever—seven years. But my son is here, so I’m excited to show him that you can do whatever you want to do, no matter how long it takes.
Cody McMahan, 28, Rosenhayn, Horticulture: I’m very excited to move on. My favorite part about RCSJ was all the hands-on classes [and] working with plants.
Boguslaw Sakhan, 29, Vineland, Nursing: To explain it, it’s the same thing as an individual in the desert for 20 days without any water and you finally taste that first sip. That’s how it feels right now—liberating.
Stephanie Risley, 23, Millville, Justice Studies: I’m glad that we got through it and that it’s over. It was definitely a journey but I’m glad it’s done. I’m ready to move on to the next step. I’m going to go to another school and get my bachelor’s in criminal justice/social justice.
Dina Matias, 49, Vineland, Human Resources: I am very excited. This has taken me 24 years to complete my journey, [but] my journey’s not done. I’m going to continue on to [earn] my bachelor’s. I want a better life and my kids are [older] and I have my grandkids. I want to prove you’re never too old to go back to college.
Tyrell Dunn, 21, Millville, Liberal Arts Communications/ Digital Communications: I am very happy to graduate because there are some people who I have lost, and I feel like I’m making them proud. That’s what I do [this] for.
Courtney Ayars, 17, Millville, Early College High School, Liberal Arts: I’m very excited. Being in college and high school at the same time is not easy, but it was fun. I had a lot of fun. I made a lot of close friends along the way [and received] a lot of help from everyone here.