Ivan Delgado, a Gavilan College LVN graduate, walked at the college’s May 21 Nursing Program Pinning ceremony. Photo: Chris Mora

Over the past week, Gavilan College has hosted thousands of visitors and ceremoniously conferred hundreds of degrees, certificates and other accolades to members of the Class of 2024 who have completed their studies in a variety of academic programs. 

The college held its 104th annual graduation ceremony on May 24 on Gavilan’s main campus on Santa Teresa Boulevard in Gilroy. A total of 958 students graduated, and 1,432 degrees and certificates were awarded. These include associate in arts and science degrees; and certificates of achievement, competency and proficiency.

More than 3,000 people attended the May 24 ceremony on the college’s athletic grounds, according to Gavilan spokesperson Rosie Zepeda. 

Gavilan College Trustee Kathy Chavez Napoli presented land acknowledgment, and Executive Assistant to the Vice President of Academic Affairs Victoria Masey sang the national anthem at the ceremony. 

Student speakers included Ysabella Johnson and Camille Reimal. Gavilan’s Superintendent and President Dr. Pedro Avila delivered closing remarks. 

Graduates of the Class of 2024 ranged widely in age. The oldest graduate on May 24 was 90-year-old San Benito County resident Theodore “Ted” Thoeny, who received a degree in studio arts.

“The San Benito County resident, who lives in a historical school between Hollister and San Juan Bautista, received an enormous ovation from his fellow graduates and attendees of the annual ceremony for his persistence to pursue education during his golden years,” the college said of Thoeny. 

The youngest graduate of the Class of 2024 is 16-year-old Deepinder Singh Mann, who completed his graduation requirements through the Gilroy Early College Academy. Mann received three college degrees at Gavilan, while also finishing college prep courses and preparing to transfer to a university this fall, Zepeda said. 

Also in recent days, Gavilan College has held a number of smaller ceremonies for students completing their studies and training in its many instructional programs. This includes the May 21 Nursing Program Pinning ceremony at the college’s theater in Gilroy, which was filled to capacity for the occasion.

At the May 21 ceremony, 27 students graduated as Licensed Vocational Nurses and 20 graduated as Registered Nurses.

“Nursing is one of the toughest programs at any community college and ours is one of the most  academically challenging,” Gavilan’s Dean of Nursing and Allied Health Dr. Enna Trevathan said with pride. “Our students have to pass their finals way before the rest of the college. In the Nursing Pinning Ceremony, we are acknowledging the enormous efforts and sacrifices our students have made in finishing a nursing program but also the support of their families.”

Among the nursing program graduates were six students who received assistance from a $30,000 donation from the Morgan Hill-based Edward Boss Prado Foundation. The purpose of this donation was to increase the number of nursing students in Gavilan’s area by covering tuition and other educational expenses that are not covered by the college, Zepeda said. 

Pictured is the Gavilan College Nursing Program Class of 2024, on stage at their May 21 pinning ceremony at the college’s theater on the Gilroy campus. Photo: Chris Mora
Gavilan College LVN graduate Hannah Rae Abrego received her nursing pin at the college’s May 21 pinning ceremony. Photo: Chris Mora
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Michael Moore is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor for the Morgan Hill Times, Hollister Free Lance and Gilroy Dispatch since 2008. During that time, he has covered crime, breaking news, local government, education, entertainment and more.