Limited for a second consecutive year by pandemic restrictions, Edgecombe Community College celebrated the Class of 2021 with a Drive-thru Graduation Parade on May 8 at the college’s Tarboro campus.
The event began at 8 a.m. with live streaming coverage of graduation remarks. Dr. Jerry Price, chair of the ECC Board of Trustees, welcomed graduates and their families and friends.
“Once again, this year’s graduation has a different look, due to coronavirus limitations,” he said. “As we did last year, we had to be creative with our celebration and guided by the top priority of keeping graduates and their families safe. Though graduation still looks different this year, we celebrate our Class of 2021 graduates with just as much enthusiasm and well wishes as we did last year and the years before.”
Nearly 130 graduates participated in the Drive-thru Graduation Parade that began at 10 a.m. Graduates formed a line at the back of the Fleming Building on the Tarboro campus. The parade route continued from Fleming and wrapped around the back of campus on the Loop Road, with various stations set up along the way to honor graduates.
ECC’s Class of 2021 comprises 316 students who received 354 degrees, diplomas and certificates. Thirty-eight of these students completed Adult High School Equivalency and Adult High School diplomas.
In addition to Price, remarks were made by college President Greg McLeod, Gloria Wiggins-Hicks, vice chair of the Board of Trustees, and the Rev. Jerry Spruell, trustee and Edgecombe County elections director.
Keynote speaker Spruell, who is the longest currently serving trustee at 27 years, is a former Edgecombe County commissioner. He has been the Edgecombe County elections director for 13 years. Prior to this position, he retired from American General Financial Services after 31 years.
“Congratulations to the Class of 2021. While social distancing may have put a damper on traditional celebrations, think about the insights of finishing the school year online or being fortunate enough to have been face-to-face,” Spruell told graduates.
He suggested four strategies for success.
“Be confident in yourself. Never let anyone tell you that you can’t do what you aspire to do. Recognize injustice and racism. All people are struggling, and all people are somebody,” he said. “You need a strategy for change. Keep striving and seeking until you find it. Change requires listening. Listen to those you disagree with, and be willing to compromise.”