Central Piedmont Community College held its 2023 spring commencement ceremonies on Thursday, May 11, in Charlotte. Approximately 900 students "marched" and received their college credentials during the morning and afternoon ceremonies. More than 1,500 students were eligible to graduate.
During the morning festivities at the Bojangles Coliseum, Maria "Fernanda" Moreno Tovar, a 2023 graduate, addressed her peers by delivering the commencement address. RaeDeja Sawyer, also a 2023 graduate, spoke at the afternoon ceremony. It has become Central Piedmont's tradition to have graduating students serve as commencement keynote speakers. Both Maria and RaeDeja were graduating with associate in arts degrees.
Maria shared her experiences and challenges as an immigrant from Mexico. She concluded her address by saying, "As I am standing here today, I am confident that Central Piedmont gave me the right tools to continue chasing my academic goals. I am also confident that just like mine, your struggle can make magic if you take the leap of faith."
RaeDeja recounted how she had lost loved ones during her time at Central Piedmont and how the college provided her much needed support. "This journey has been charged with intense emotion. I have experienced elevating highs and depleting lows, but seeing it through has been most valuable and unforgettable. And the truth is, graduation today does not mark the end of our studies, nor does it mark the end of deadlines, decisions, or expectations," she explained.
Students graduating from Central Piedmont with a degree, diploma, or certificate had the option of participating in either the morning or afternoon ceremony. Central Piedmont combined its for-credit and non-credit program conferrals into both ceremonies, giving graduates the choice to "walk" at the time that best fits their families' schedule.