PALATKA – Florida School of the Arts recently bid farewell to graduates now on their way to pursue careers in art galleries, on stage or behind the scenes in the entertainment industry. Many will continue their education at universities before finding their niche in the arts.
The College honored students who received their associate degrees in the visual and performing arts at the St. Johns River State College Palatka campus.
The commencement speech was given by Belinda Boyd, associate professor and coordinator of undergraduate acting at the University of Central Florida. Boyd advised the graduates to be visionaries who value time, listening to their guts and hearts while navigating fear and taking action. She also encouraged them to embrace hope and be themselves, letting “their art create kindness.”
Quoting author Marianne Williamson, Boyd said, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it is in
everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Outstanding graduates were also recognized during the ceremony.
The award for Outstanding Graduate in the Performing Arts was presented to Matias De La Flor, who will be transferring to the North Carolina School of the Arts to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.
The award for Outstanding Graduate in the Visual Arts was presented to Caitlin Pecknold. Pecknold will be taking a brief absence from school before pursuing her bachelor’s degree.
Outstanding Graduate Awards for Design and Technical Theatre were presented to Sarah Cox, Braden Harrington, Uvenka Jean-Baptiste and Brittany Posso.
Cox will be transferring to the University of Central Florida, where she will pursue a bachelor’s degree in Theatre Design and Technology. Harrington is employed as the sound designer and assistant technical director for North Carolina’s Horn in the West summer theatre. He will attend Point Park University Conservatory of the Performing Arts this fall on a renewable arts merit scholarship and has been offered an assistant position in the scene shop. Jean-Baptiste will be pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Theatre Design and Technology at Southeast Missouri State University, where she has also been offered a paid assistantship. After completing her second degree at SJR State this fall, Posso plans to continue her education while working with Disney and the St. Augustine Ballet.
The Outstanding Academic Achievement award was presented to Kiona Cabrera. Cabrera will take a brief absence from school before continuing with her bachelor’s degree.
Florida School of the Arts graduates are as follows: Samuel Alvarado, Jon Cameron Bartelt, Kiersten Bartholomew, Victoria Blair, Katie Bregenzer, Kiona Cabrera, Yul Carrion Ortiz, Caitlin Charrier, Sarah Cox, Matis De La Flor, Emily Deyo, Marcus Donaldson Jr., Markeith Douse, Maria Edwards, Martin Hamilton, Braden Harrington,
Connor Hayes, Michaela Heini, Sabryna Hesse, Kayla Hooper, Uvenka Jean-Baptiste Jacques, Martha Langhorne, Megan Leclair, Bethany McLain, Ashley Mercado, Damian
Mohammed, Morgan Motes, Brianna Osmond, Caitlin Pecknold, Brittany Posso,
Madison Protonotarious, Sarah Redenius, Libby Rodriguez, Mark-Anthony Rodriguez-Wildman, Jenna Rubiano, Justin Savage, Maycee Smith, Jordan Tucker, Ashlyn Wilkerson and Patrice Williams.
Florida School of the Arts is part of the academic and administrative structure of SJR State and awards the two-year associate degree in the following areas of study: visual art, stage management, dance performance, theater technology, acting and musical theater. The School serves the entire state of Florida. Admission is based on an audition or portfolio review, an interview with the faculty and admission to SJR State. Students produce and perform in approximately four visual art exhibitions and 10 performances each year. For more information about Florida School of the Arts, call 386-312-4300 or visit online at floarts.org.