NEW PORT RICHEY — When Angela Field was a girl, she routinely gave the same answer whenever an adult asked what she planned to be when she grew up.
“I want to be a nurse,” she would announce.
It took a while, but Field finally is realizing her childhood dream. The 42-year-old Brooksville resident graduated from Pasco-Hernando State College on Wednesday with a nursing degree.
“Here we are, how many years later,” Field said as her family greeted her with flowers after the ceremony.
Part of the delay was because Field has been busy raising her three children, ages 12 to 22. She also has worked as a paramedic for Florida Hospital Tampa.
Field said her experience returning to school shows that long-held dreams don’t have to just fade away.
“If you want it bad enough, it’s possible,” she said.
The Wednesday commencement was the college’s first graduation ceremony since it changed its name in January from Pasco-Hernando Community College to Pasco-Hernando State College.
As usual, two ceremonies were held. The morning commencement was for students earning an associate in science degree, an associate in applied science degree, an applied technology diploma, a GED or a certificate.
The afternoon ceremony was for students earning an associate in arts degree.
About 380 degrees and certificates were conferred during the two ceremonies. About 870 students were eligible to participate, but not everyone chooses to do so.
Although the college’s name is new, the ceremony stuck to tradition, with inspiring remarks from students or faculty members and music by the PHSC Chamber Singers.
Michelle Beermann, president of the Faculty Senate, reminded the graduates to “thank those people who have supported you along the way.” Jennifer Tellarini, student speaker at the morning commencement, told her classmates to never “give up on your ambitions.”
Burt Harres, provost for PHSC West Campus, in New Port Richey, told the graduates that the “day is somewhat bittersweet for me.” Harres is retiring at the end of the month.
He had parting advice for the students, lessons he learned based on the successes and setbacks he experienced during his career.
Identify a mentor who can help guide you as you launch your career, Harres said.
“Be proud of your accomplishments, but exercise humility,” he said.
And finally, Harres said,commit to being a lifelong learner.
“Knowledge makes us better people,” he said.