VVC 2021 Commencement Ceremony Article & Photo Gallery


Victor Valley College’s 2021 commencement ceremony on June 12 celebrated a record-setting class of 1,817 graduates, the largest in the school’s near 60-year history.

To accommodate for both the prodigious class and social distancing safety measures, the event was held at Glen Helen Amphitheater, America’s largest outdoor music venue. The move was made to accommodate more than 600 graduates who walked on Saturday, June 12, as well as a limited number of guests.

“You are all examples of the college mission at Victor Valley College,”  Superintendent/President Dr. Daniel Walden said. “You have achieved your goal, and today we celebrate with you and take this opportunity to congratulate the class of 2021.”

Walden introduced the Victor Valley Community College District Board of Trustees, as well as the college’s cabinet, administration and Faculty Senate President Dr. Henry Young.

“Graduates, you are here because of your dedication to learning, the support of your families, and the dedicated service of our outstanding faculty, staff and administrators,” Young said before asking the faculty members in attendance to stand for a moment of recognition. 

College Board President Brandon Wood spoke next, offering praises to the graduates on behalf of the trustees.

“As I stood there, and I watched this sea of maroon and gold trickle in, I gotta tell you, I have not been this happy in over a year … I just can’t say how stoked I am that we are here, live in person,” Wood said. “It is my honor to stand here on behalf of the Board of Trustees and congratulate each and every one of you on a job well done.”

VVC Foundation President Shannon Shannon encouraged graduates to “keep in touch” and “consider paying it forward” to the students who will follow in their footsteps.’

“As you move forward and away from this institution, we hope that you will always remember that you are a Victor Valley College Ram, and an integral part of the High Desert community,” Shannon said. “Our hope for you is that you will continue to grow, continue to strive, and that you will ultimately achieve your dreams. In doing so, you will not only enrich your own lives, but the lives of the people around you and the community you call home.”

Associated Student Body President Bridge Lee, who, as a first-generation college student like many of her fellow graduates, will be transferring to Louisiana State University to study psychology in the Fall.

“There is a certain amount of bittersweet joy that we must all feel today when closing one chapter and getting ready to begin another,” Lee said. “We have finished the race, we persevered where others crumbled, and in the face of adversity — such as COVID-19 and Zoom fatigue — we rose to the occasion and reached the summit.”

Executive Vice President of Instruction Dr. Todd Scott announced the names of 15 valedictorians who all graduated with a perfect 4.0 grade point average: Felicity Allen, David Bowers, Vivian’na Cuevas, Anjel Gallegos, Andrew Johnson, Maya Lyons, Kaitlin Magner, Neena Malhotra, Makaylee Sariah Moore, Pam Pabla, Nathaniel Pond, Julia June Raschke, Arlene Tamayo, Maria Vazquez and Jessica Viera.

After all were recognized on stage with a plaque from Board President Brandon Wood, the selected valedictorian speaker, Jessica Viera, gave her address.

“I know I speak for everyone when I say, Victor Valley College is truly an institution that aims in celebrating all of our hard work and dedication to our future, and the recognition means so much to us graduates,” Viera said.

She went on to especially thank the counselors and professors at VVC before recognizing her own family’s support in helping her succeed in school.

“I would not be here if it weren’t for the passing of my father. I dedicate this speech, and all my successes to him,” Viera said. “To my mommy, you made me who I am today, and I will never stop reaching for the stars. The sky is not the limit—it extends to beyond anything we can ever fathom, and life is filled with endless opportunities when we believe we are worthy.”

Dr. Todd Scott gave special recognition to salutatorian Valerie Longman, all of the honor graduates, Phi Theta Kappa international honors students, those who served on the ASB Council and veteran students.

He also asked graduate Christina Greenwood to come to the platform to be acknowledged as a 2021 Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholar. Greenwood, who is transferring to Redlands University, recently accepted the prestigious award along with 71 other scholars across the nation who will all receive up to $40,000 per year toward their college expenses. 

Once all the graduates were recognized individually on stage, Walden and Scott performed the official conferring of degrees and Lee led the class in the traditional turning of the tassel to symbolize the end of the VVC Class of 2021’s journey together.

Serving as the commencement speaker this year, Dr. Walden encouraged the graduates to “have an entrepreneurial mindset” and to seize every opportunity “to make something out of life.”

“Every diploma that we give out is a lighted match and each one of you is the fuse,” Walden said. “The diploma will not make anything out of you, you will make something out of it. You’re the fuse, you light that diploma, that degree, and the fireworks have just begun.”


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