TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The coronavirus stripped senior athletes of a lot of things, mainly finishing their seasons, but there's so much more that comes with just being a senior.
The class of 2020 may not have a regular graduation, but at Florida A&M University Friday, the Rattlers took time to honor their graduating senior athletes, giving them a positive memory to fall aside this crazy year.
Nasir Core is a first generation graduate, earning a bachelor of science in sociology. A graduate who misses out on collecting his diploma in front of family and friends, but a graduate who's inspired those closest to him.
"I changed the stigma for my whole family, and I want to show my little brothers, sisters and cousins that you can do it and anything's possible if you put your mind to it," said Core.
It's why Florida A&M recognized 30 graduating Rattler athletes Friday, to celebrate their accomplishments in what's been a crazy finish to their senior year.
"It's awesome," said Octavien Moyer, who earned a bachelor of science in pre-occupational therapy. "I never thought it'd be like this, but for sure it's pretty cool. It's awesome to know they're doing that for us."
Figueroa earned a bachelor of science in criminal justice.
"I actually was more excited for this celebration than the actual school graduation, because it just felt more like I was appreciated for being a student itself and for going above and beyond, and being an athlete also," Figueroa said.
They're graduates of the coronavirus class of 2020, and its a year they'll never forget.
"Sometimes I feel like it's not real," said Figueroa. "I feel like it's not real, but I just have to accept it."
"It's going to be the graduation we never got to have, really," Moyer said. "Peers of mine have been looking forward to this ever since freshman year, you say. We get to our year and we don't even get to have one."
No graduation, but a graduate still the same.
"As long as I get that piece of paper, I'll be fine," Core said.
A piece of paper that's something that will never be taken away.
Core, Moyer and Figueroa are going to pursue master degrees, so they still have a chance to walk sometime in the future.
FAMU is looking at the option of rescheduling spring commencement for a later date, but there is no word on if or when yet.