By Saida Maalin
Riverside City College announced Roryana Bowman, President of Ujima Club, as the Student Commencement Speaker for the graduating class of 2020.
“Her character and discipline to commitment, self improvement and community service is impeccable,” said Kweku Williams, an RCC anthropology instructor.
Bowman is the first speaker in RCC’s history to be sent to record her speech at the school.
“It was a good experience because I have never done a speech like that,” Bowman said. “It felt presidential.”
Bowman was selected during a zoom conference with other applicants during the speaker competition. The students who were not selected have the option to submit a recording of their speech, which will be displayed on the RCC graduation website.
“When Roryana puts her mind to something she gives it her all not only is she a great mother, role figure to others, president of the Ujima club, student mentor and a student instructional aide there is no limit to what this woman can do,” said Crystal Hollie, RCC student. “Which shows us all, if you have a dream and a vision to go for it and don’t stop until you accomplish it.”
A group of administrators and faculty determined the Bowman to be the winner of this year’s graduation. Bowman was sent a letter by the selection committee thanking her for sharing her story.
Selecting a candidate wasn’t an easy task for the committee but Bowman proved to be a great representation for the graduating class of 2020.
“In order to inspire you must first become inspirational,” said Bowman.
Bowman who worked hard to graduate are saddened by the decision to hold an online celebration for such an important milestone. She wishes the option for an in person ceremony were still available.
“In a way it’s very disheartening,” said Bowman.
Many students felt the same way.
“I don’t like that the graduation is going virtual because I feel that there were better options making it a smaller ceremony all chairs 6 ft apart and separating it by days,” said Hollie, “But hey hopefully I will be able to walk across the stage for my Bachelors degree.”
Williams was saddened as well but expressed understanding for the decision.
“It is necessary in these troubling times,” Williams said. “I’m proud to see that the district prioritizes safety while being supportive of student achievement.”
This year’s virtual graduation will be held June 12th. Students should check their email for updated information.