SPJC graduates 38 students: Dean Gustavo Ellis retires

Monday, July 10th, 2023

The 2023 graduation season ended on Saturday, July 8th, with the 22nd Commencement Exercise of the San Pedro Junior College (SPJC). The celebration of the students’ achievement was held under the theme, ‘Helping others in their time of need isn’t just selfless charity but anchoring in success.’ The graduation differed from previous events as it saw a special recognition to Dean Gustavo Ellis, who officially retired from SPJC.
The graduation ceremony started at 5PM as students marched to the tune of Pomp and Circumstance at the Angel Nuñez Auditorium. Master of Ceremonies Pedro Garcia welcomed all the parents, family members, friends, and special guests to the graduation ceremony. This was followed by the singing of the National Anthem and a short invocation by Abel Guerrero Sr. The Salutatory Address was delivered by Mercy Paola Reyes (3.78 GPA).
Afterward, the guest speaker at the ceremony, Deputy Prime Minister Honourable Cordel Hyde, shared some encouraging words with the graduates. “You have reached a milestone in your lives; cherish it as many out there did not have the same opportunity,” said Hyde. “This is not the end; go as far as you can and fight hard for your goals,” Hyde added that everything is possible in this life, but it comes with dedication and hard work. He mentioned some names of successful people in areas like sports and entertainment. Cordel told the graduates that those persons had achieved their goals through hard work and sacrifices. He encouraged them never to give up, sacrifice if necessary, and chase their dreams.
Dean Ellis’ remarks followed the deputy prime minister’s address. He congratulated the 38 graduates and thanked his colleagues for their support for almost two decades in education. He wished the incoming Dean of SPJC a successful career, Paul Kelly, and offered guidance on taking on the role. After that, Neima Ozaeta and Froylan Gilharry distributed awards to island residents who contributed to the school.
Lisandra Novelo (3.80 GPA) delivered the Valedictorian Address, encouraging colleagues to never give up on their dreams. The former island beauty ambassador, Miss San Pedro 2016-2017, thanked her family for supporting her. Novelo’s outstanding academic performance was also honored by the University of Belize President Vincent Palacio. He attended the SPJC graduation ceremony to present Novelo with a certificate of exceptional academic achievement, which gave her a full scholarship to continue her education at the University of Belize.
Under the distinguished patronage of Ana Reyes Associates, diplomas in Business Administration (Accounting), Business Management, Tourism Management, Environmental Science, and Paralegal were handed over to the graduates. Marthalicia Vasquez then serenaded the class with a rendition of ‘Lean on Me’ by Bill Withers.
Before the ceremony ended, SPJC Chairlady Martha Guerrero shared a few words of gratitude to outgoing Dean Ellis. Guerrero considered him an adopted son and wished him the best in his future endeavors as he prepared to relocate to his hometown on the mainland. Guerrero called on Ellis and offered him a special token.
The graduation ceremony concluded with the Vote of Thanks by Jenevieve Ayuso (3.72 GPA).

With the graduation period over on the island, The San Pedro Sun congratulates all the 2023 graduates!


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