SMC celebrates grads after shooting
Just five days after the tragic shooting that took six lives, Santa Monica College held their 2013 graduation ceremony. On Tuesday, at least 1,472 students crossed stage on the Corsair field where over 100 flags that represent the countries of origin the students dressed in blue gowns come from were raised.
The ceremony transpired just one day after the college officially re-opened and brought out members of the community who have not left their house since the rampage.
The 82nd graduation ceremony also had the distinction of being the first to be broadcasted live via webcast, thanks to the SMC Alumni Association.
With helicopters flying overhead, President and Superintendent Chui L. Tsang delivered a somber message that rang out through Corsair field.
"The students and employees at Santa Monica College have shown great courage and heroism during these difficult five days. We have come together as a community to heal and to pay homage to the victims."
A moment of silence was observed to commemorate the loss of life. Monsignor Lloyd Torgerson, Pastor of St. Monica Parish, addressed the outgoing class.
"That pain and loss needs to reach our joy for we are united in our grief," he said. Uplifting motivation, and unity were common themes among all the speakers.”
"Tonight is a night of great joy and no one should take that from you" said Torgerson. "Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change this world."
Nancy Greenstein, Chair of the Board of Trustees, also acknowledged last week's violence.
"We were challenged last Friday, the events made us leave the ordinary behind," she said. Greenstein went on to urge the future alumni with a call to action.
"You can save the world, start with what you know. We are Santa Monica College strong."
In light of recent events, the ceremony was heavily secured by Santa Monica Police, SMCPD, and school security.
Torgerson was perhaps the best at capturing the mood of attendees:
"The greatest legacies from the crimes and victims is, we are one. Love is the common thread that joins us together."