Meet the student speaker for HTC’s virtual commencement

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Brooklyn Park, May 10, 2021 – For the 2021 Hennepin Technical College Virtual Commencement ceremony, the student speaker is Grace Bichanga Larson, a licensed practical nursing student. During her remarks, Grace offers words of encouragement and a reminder about the remarkable and tragic year the graduating class survived to reach this milestone.

When the pandemic first began, Grace worried about not having enough interaction with her instructors. “How could I learn if I am not in a classroom? I am the type of student who needs to ask faculty about every little question that I have.”

Grace is proud of herself and her classmates for learning new skills and adapting to the online learning environment. At times, classes were 100% virtual. Eventually, restrictions eased and many students were allowed on campus for hands-on learning such as labs and skills learning.

For the people who want life to get back to what is was prior to the pandemic, Grace has a message.

“I am pleased to say it never will. We are HTC graduates. The world has changed and so have we,” said Grace.

2020 proved to be a monumental challenge not just because of the pandemic. The killing of George Floyd launched Grace into the role of social justice activist. She spent countless hours at demonstrations in the Twin Cities and also attended a vigil for Daunte Wright, who was killed by a Brooklyn Center police officer. Grace says she is motivated to create a better world for her three-year-old son.

Her career in nursing is already proving to be rewarding and exciting. Grace recently began working at a birthing center in Minneapolis and already, she has assisted with two births. She plans to continue her education to become a midwife.