May 2016 (3) Candygrams

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Thursday, May 12, 2016---USC Student-Athlete Graduation Ceremony

The doors at the Galen Center opened much later than last year. When the ushers let us in, Trojan Candy ran in to find seats on the aisle. Luckily, I was able to find one aisle seat. My husband Jim actually found a seat on the front row on the other side. Thanks to Jim for taking pictures too!

Thanks also to my sister Pat for saving my aisle seat so that I could go outside to take pictures. Seniors were still entering in the side of the Galen Center to get in line for the procession.

Scott Felix
The first Senior friend Trojan Candy saw was Scott Felix (9/27/2012).
Max deVroome
Max deVroome (2/16/2016) came next.
Darion Clark
Darion Clark (3/30/2015) came without his cast and sling.
Alexis Lloyd
Alexis Lloyd posed with her family.
Eloy Lopez
Just when I was going to go back into the Galen Center, a good friend walked up. Eloy Lopez (4/9/2015) and I talked about his new job. It was so nice to see him again.
Kristen Simon and Alexis Lloyd
After Eloy left, Kristen Simon came up and congratulated Alexis. They posed for this picture.
Hayley Crone and Alice Pizzasegola
Then, two more friends came to the celebration. Hayley Crone (4/16/2015) and Alice Pizzasegola.
Robby Kolanz
The very last picture I took was of Robby Kolanz.

Then Trojan Candy rushed to her seat to wait for the procession.

The stage was beautifully decorated.

ProcessionTrojan Candy took this video of the Procession of Senior Athletes.

Athletic Director Pat Haden welcomed everyone, and then, President C.L. Max Nikias spoke. He said that Pat Haden, "...restored dignity to Trojan Athletics. He was caring and served with integrity...."

Then, President Nikias addressed all the Senior athletes. He said that our athletes strive for a "...sound mind in a sound body. The mind and body are closely intertwined. When you benefit one, you benefit the other. At USC, it is hard to be an athlete, and it is hard to be a student. It is even harder to be a student-athlete!"

Next on the stage were the two Senior Speakers. Trojan Candy proudly knows both of the speakers and has interviewed them for my blog.

Giuliana OlmosWomen of Troy Tennis Senior Giuliana Olmos (3/23/2012) took the stage first. Giu Giu said that she hit a "low" in her Senior year. She spoke with Pat Haden, and he helped her to realize that she had to be a good leader for her team. She said, "I didn't quit. After all, our motto is to "Fight On!" Every one of us here at USC has the same dream. Now, I can officially say, "Man, I made it!"" FIGHT ON, Giu Giu!

Robert WoodsUSC Football Alumnus Robert Woods (8/19/2010) took the stage next. He told the audience that he came back for three consecutive spring semesters to take classes so that he could finish what he earn his USC degree. Robert said that the real power is Education. Then, he poignantly told us about what he learned from his sister Olivia Woods. Olivia passed away when Robert was fifteen. Her last words to him were, "I thought you were going to model. You have to be a model." Robert said that Olivia wanted him to be a "role model." To be an example and to be a leader. Robert told his fellow graduates, "Every model does not look the same. Be a model every day." Then he asked, "Are you going to model?" FIGHT ON, Robert!

Next, Pat Haden and Mark A. Stevens presented the Stevens Scholars. Jim was sitting close to the stage so he was able to take pictures of three Senior friends with 3.5 GPA's or better.

Emily Young
Emily Young, Beach Volleyball (5/11/2016)
Sam Adams
Sam Adams, Diving (2/4/2015)
Max deVroome
Max deVroome, Tennis

Now, it was time for the Presentation of Seniors. They were presented by the alphabetical order of their sport.

Darion Clark
Darion Clark, Basketball
Strahinja Gavrilovic
Strahinja (Luis) Gavrilovic, Basketball (11/16/2002)
Eve Ettinger
Eve Ettinger, Beach Volleyball (8/30/2012)
Alexa Stonish
Alexa Stonish, Beach Volleyball (5/4/2015)
Alexa Strange
Alexa Strange, Beach Volleyball (3/3/2016)
Emily Young
Emily Young, Beach Volleyball
Scott Felix
Scott Felix, Football
Robby Kolanz
Robby Kolanz, Football
Leon McQuay
Leon McQuay, Football
Jabari Ruffin
Jabari Ruffin, Football (7/13/2012)
Chad Wheeler
Chad Wheeler, Football (3/23/2012)
Robert Woods
Robert Woods, Football
Kamali Houston
Kamali Houston, Rowing
Max deVroome
Max deVroome, Tennis
Paige Keating
Paige Keating, Tennis
Giuliana Olmos
Giu Giu Olmos, Tennis
Sabrina Santamaria
Sabrina Santamaria, Tennis (4/11/2014)
Samantha Bricio
Samantha Bricio, Volleyball (11/29/2015)
Alicia Ogoms
Alicia Ogoms, Volleyball (11/29/2015)

After the Presentation of Seniors finished, the Senior Awards were awarded. The "Trojaneer Diamond" Award recognizes the Senior student-athlete who has brought the most fame and distinction to the university.

Samantha Bricio
The Trojaneer Diamond Award was given to Samantha Bricio.

Trojan athletesPat Haden made his Closing Remarks. Then, to his surprise, all USC Athletes, current and Alumni, were asked to come up to the stage.

I videorecorded the athletes standing on the stage.
This video paying tribute to retiring Athletic Director Pat Haden was shown. FIGHT ON, Pat!

This ended the 2016 USC Student-Athlete Graduation Ceremony.

What a memorable Graduation!