The last speech of Dr. Portia Taylor’s Santa Fe College career will ironically be a first — she’s never given a graduation speech.
Taylor, Vice President of Student Affairs, is retiring after nearly 36 years at Santa Fe. At the college’s Fall Commencement, 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 15 in the Gymnasium at the Northwest Campus, Taylor is giving the keynote address, and President Jackon Sasser will recognize Taylor for her many contribtuions to Santa Fe.
Over 950 students have applied to receive Associate’s degrees this semester and the college expects to award more than 40 bachelor’s degrees. About 320 students have said they’ll participate in Friday’s ceremony.
Dr. Sasser will also single out Deanna Boyte, who has overcome many obstacles to graduate with an associate of applied science degree in legal assisting.
Boyte, 32, is in reach of her dream. Boyte lost the vision in her right eye when she was 2, so she grew up a very determined person, she said, which has stood her well.
She started studying at Santa Fe seven years ago to earn a GED. At the time, she was working three part-time jobs to support her young son (today, he’s 13, and she’s the mother of a 3-year-old girl as well). She later earned a law enforcement certificate from Santa Fe’s Police Academy, and then worked briefly in the juvenile justice field.
She decided she wanted to work another angle of the law, and returned to Santa Fe to study legal assisting and to earn a certificate in legal office management. She completed an internship this spring at the Public Defender’s Office. Just two weeks ago, she was hired as a legal assistant by a local attorney’s office — a job she absolutely loves.
“I have worked very hard to get where I’m at,” Boyte said. “It’s the first time in my life that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it feels so good. I love helping people.”
Santa Fe College will be closed for the winter break from Dec. 22 to Jan. 4. The Teaching Zoo will remain open daily, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., except for being closed Dec. 24 and 25. The Kika Silva Pla Planetarium will be closed from Dec. 18 to Jan. 5.
Santa Fe is registering now for spring semester. The college reopens Thursday, Jan. 5, and classes start Monday, Jan. 9.
Spring Convocation for faculty and staff is set for 9 a.m. Friday, Jan. 6 in the Fine Arts Hall.
For more information about graduation, please call Tina Crosby in the President’s Office at 352-395-5168.