The weeks following midterms marked a period of transition for many at PCC. While the College transitioned to online learning, many seniors left campus for the last time before they’ll transition to alumni status from locations all over the country. As plans for the 2020 Commencement Ceremony in May are still undetermined, many recognized that March 14 could be the final time everyone was together. That evening, PCC surprised the graduating class of 2020 by inviting the senior class to have their party a week early, before everyone parted ways.
At the class party, several games and challenges had been set up for the seniors to try, including a mechanical bull, an obstacle course, and “Chuck a Puck”—a game that took inspiration from Pensacola’s Ice Flyers hockey team. Several enjoyed stepping up for the challenges while others were satisfied as spectators, offering moral support with their smartphones at the ready. Some games gave seniors the opportunity to win special prizes such as Apple’s Beats Studio 3, AirPods Pro, and an iPad. These were won by Sarah Leiford (PA), Ben Phillips (MI), and Karson Cox (NC), respectively.
Zoey Arel (NH) was glad to have had the class party, allowing her to meet up with friends who had become like family. “It seemed as if the whole senior class was there,” she said. “I guess they had the same idea that I did; enjoy this last time with friends now. Packing can wait; this moment can’t.”
Zach Lewis (AL), the senior class president, appreciated that President Troy Shoemaker spent the evening with the seniors. “My favorite moment of the night was when we were all in the Arena and I introduced Dr. Shoemaker, and he came out with his graduation regalia on! Everybody went crazy!” he said. “He stood in his regalia for over two hours just so that students could take pictures with him in their caps and gowns. That was an extremely special addition to the party.”
In between games, photos, and laughs, the seniors enjoyed a wide selection of snacks and beverages provided by Special Events, including DIY ice cream sundaes. “[Special Events] massively delivered an amazing spread in under 24-hours notice!” said Rachel Moses, student programs and communications coordinator.
As their time together in the Sports Center continued throughout the evening, the shared emotions of the seniors began to change. “Closer to the end of the party, everyone started to realize that the end of our college career all together as one class was coming to end,” said Zach. “There were many tears cried and hugs given. It was a special time for everyone to be together one last time.”
“I had hoped that my friends and family [would] come down, and I would be all dressed up in my cap and gown. But that’s not quite how it happened. Instead, I was surrounded by my other family; my college family,” said Zoey.
For this year’s senior class, the class party marks an end for their intertwined journey as classmates. Zach is thankful to have spent his time with a class he’s proud to be a part of. “I don’t think I could’ve chosen a better group to do four years of college with,” he said. “We saw so much change happen in our four years here, and it was cool to see how each student has grown and become an influence in their particular sphere. We made great memories, and I can say that, without a doubt, I will be leaving college with zero regrets! This class has immense potential, but I also believe that this class has the ability and the drive to produce past the potential and do something great for God!”
While the end of their time together was unexpected, one attitude is shared among the senior class—that this year is dedicated to God for His glory. As their theme verse states in Galatians 6:14: “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.”