More than 600 people graduated this spring from Bishop State Community College. The spring commencement exercises were Thursday night at the Mobile Convention Center. The commencement speaker was Dr. Jill Biden, wife of former Vice President Joe Biden. About 330 graduates crossed the stage.
Family members couldn't be more proud. They were there in droves. Several hundred packing out the room with hundreds still standing in and around the aisles.
As students walked up the aisles and into their seats, you could feel the momentum in the room. Those graduates who's journey to the degree is finally over. If you couldn't see that excitement on their faces, you could see it on their caps. Dr. Biden said she knows the feeling.
"I know a little bit about the mix of excitement, and nerves, and the relief, the relief, that you made it, that you got here today," Biden said.
One graduate I caught up with graduated from college before getting her high school diploma.
"I would go to high school all day, illegally drive all the way to bishop state for my night classes and do high school and college at the same time," said Morgan McCane.
From ninth grade to 12th, McCane was dual enrolled in high school and college. Now that she's got the degree abd the diploma? Well...
"It's like high school, I'm like eeh," she said.
Biden told graduates she could relate to those who took a little longer than usual to get their degree.
"Maybe like me, life got in the way and its taken you a lot longer than you expected to get here today," she explained.
Another graduate, Anthony Patton, worked at bishop state as a campus police officer for 18 years.
"I had a passion for cooking and stuff like that so, i finally went on ahead and did it," he said.
Patton was the recipient of the Green Knight Award. At 52, with two children, he says the journey isn't over.
"In the fall I'm transferring to South Alabama for hospitality management," he said.
Biden said she didn't want to try and teach the graduates anything. She just wanted to remind them of what they already know.
"Whoever you are know this, if you can walk across this stage, you can do anything," she said,
For these graduates, its the close of a chapter and the start of a new one. One that Biden believes is big and bright.
"The world is before you, go change it for good, we're behind you, all of us, every step of the way, congratulations!"
Morgan McCane says she's going to Alabama state in the fall to study for her Bachelor's in Communication. She graduates from Citronelle High School in two days. Anthony Patton plans to open a food truck after graduating from South.