Hostos Community College held its 37th Honors Convocation Tuesday, May 25, 2021. The annual event was held via YouTube due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and celebrated our highest achieving Hostos students' academic, co-curricular, and extra-curricular achievements. 
Interim President Daisy Cocco De Filippis congratulated the 2021 honorees and urged them to reflect on their journey — how far they've come despite many challenges and where they're headed — and encouraged them to take pride in their achievements. She went on to advise: "As you celebrate this moment of achievement, please remember that the honor bestowed upon you, each of us, by our communities, should always be matched by the honor within you to know that you are deserving of recognition."
Charles Drago, Acting Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, also offered words of encouragement and wisdom to the 2021 honorees. 
"Today is about you, but tomorrow, do not forget to add these awards to your resume," he said, adding: "I strongly advise that you continue your education, strive to always be your best, take risks in life, and make a difference in the world. You have each proven you have what it takes to go far in life, so go out there and get it."
Hostos' 51st Commencement Ceremony Salutatorian Taisiia Smekalenkova reflected on her journey to and through Hostos in her powerful speech. She shared how lost and unsure of herself she felt soon after leaving Ukraine due to political unrest and immigrating to the U.S. Nevertheless, Smekalenkova pushed on, eventually finding her path, and it led her to Hostos, where she enrolled in the Digital Design and Animation program. 
During her time at the College, Smekalenkova juggled new motherhood, coursework, a full-time job, and a long commute from Great Neck, New York. Her journey, she said, "was not a simple one." However, she believes it is relatable and not impossible. 
"I believe a lot of Hostos students and immigrants in New York City can relate to my story. For those who feel lost and hopeless and don't believe they can do it, my message to you is to keep moving forward. There is good at the end of the road, as long as you're relentless in following your dreams."
The celebration of academic achievement continued with the presentation of awards to students who excelled in their course work, many of who have achieved a 3.5 or higher cumulative grade point average. Additionally, Interim President Cocco De Filippis recognized the President's Leadership awards recipients, Muiz Agbaje, former Hostos Student Government Association (SGA) President, and Isabel Neira Sánchez, SGA Secretary and Senator, for their exemplary student service. And Cira Angeles, Chairman of the Nasry Michelen Foundation, presented Dr. Nasry Michelen Allied Health Scholarship awards to Fatima Choudhry and Silvia J. Prado Carpio. 
Hostos' 37th Honors Convocation was made possible by The Division of Administration and Finance, the Office of Institutional Advancement, and the President's Office. Watch it on Hostos' YouTube channel here