Florida A&M University has a new batch of graduates. For many graduates, it was a very special night, and now begins a new phase in their lives.
Many of the students say they were overwhelmed, marching into a noisy arena and hearing their name called by close friends and family.
Makya Taylor, a FAMU graduate in graphic design, says, "It came so fast, I don't think I was ready for it, but I'm glad it's here. I'm the last of my parent's four, so I'm really happy for them."
Earnest Garrett, a FAMU graduate in journalism, says, "It feels good. We got our butts kicked. We had to do a lot of work, but to get it done and to finally get out of here. It's a great occasion."
In almost any graduating class are amazing stories of students who've overcome difficult challenges just to graduate, like Leslie, who lost her father in the World Trade Center attacks, or Shametria, who dropped out of school, but decided she needed to go back and is now an inspiration to others.
Many students feel their greatest challenge is the current economy.
Natalie Brown, a FAMU graduate in public administration, says, “Of course, everybody thinks the economy is bad, but currently I think it is at a stand still right now and I encourage others to get an education because of course you get better jobs."
Friday's commencement speaker was former U.S. Representative and FAMU alum Carrie meek, who told the students that to be successful it takes focus and dedication.
Saturday Florida State University students take center stage in two separate commencement ceremonies, one at 9 in the morning and a second at 2 p.m.