It was a day of celebration and excitement for more than 12-hundred Chico State seniors as they took their first step towards a new future at Saturdays 121st commencement ceremony."Share their hope and anticipate their future", said Chico State President Paul Zing.
Surrounded by proud parents, family and friends, grads wore the days excitement on their faces and their hats, anxiously awaiting for their name to be called. For many, they've been waiting for this moment their whole life. " It feels amazing, it feels surreal, I never thought this day would come and now that's it's here it's kinda like a dream", said Chico State graduate Natalie Bensky. Jamie Humphreys adds " Now it's just all excitement and celebrating". For others, it's a day they say came too soon. " I'm feeling really good, but bitter sweet" said graduate Summer Lon-Franco. Chico State Graduate Mollie McCarteny was also feeling emotional about the day " Sad, bitter sweet, glad to graduate, sad to leave".
For graduating senior K.C. Piercy, it's a day he always knew would come. Being a fourth generation Chico State Graduate, he's following in the footsteps of his parents, grandparents and great grandmother who graduated from Chico State in 1924. " Feels great, I love it, feels good to be a part of Chico State", Piercy said.
The morning was filled with speeches and words of encouragement to brace the graduates as they enter the work field, and a slumping economy. " Don't worry if you don't have a job yet, this is a tough time to be a new graduate, be patient, trust yourself", said Chico State professor Jennifer Meadows.
Despite the lack of open jobs for new graduates, many say they already have a plan in place. " I am not worried, I've made plenty of relationships, so I'm solid", said Lon-Franco. Humphreys adds " I'm actually moving to San Diego after this to work in the NECU at a children's hospital". Others have a different plan. " I'm gonna go and travel in Europe and Travel in Israel and just hope a job is waiting for me when I come back" said Bensky.
Regardless of what the future holds for these new graduates, on this day, all those concerns were drowned out by the sounds of joy and celebration.