It was 19-years in the making: More than 70 alumni from the Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) Program at State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF) gathered in the Together Manatee room at SCF’s Library & Learning Center to celebrate the relationships they made. About 300 PTAs have graduated from the program since 1999.
The reunion included both faculty and alumni. Four recent graduates – Derrick Hawkins, Jose Sanchez, Victoria Kolbach and Joanna Hennessey – decided to put together an alumni reunion as their community service project. The group was reluctant at first, offering other community service ideas, but when they saw their success, they realized it was a worthwhile project. The group exceeded their own expectations by bringing in dozens of alumni and raising money for scholarships. They also realized it was the perfect warmup to next year’s reunion when the program will be celebrating 20 years of graduates.
Vicky Duquette, who graduated from the first PTA class in 1999, brought her daughter Kourtney Spekko with her to the reunion. Spekko is a student at SCF who plans to apply to the PTA program once she completes her prerequisites. The 2018 graduates celebrated earning their PTA licenses after all 18 graduates passed the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE) for PTAs on their first attempt.
Because the program is rigorous, students study together and learn from one another, and become a tight-knit group, so it was no surprise to the instructors that so many alumni showed up. They expect an even bigger gathering for the reunion of all the classes of the past 20 years.
The Saturday event included lunch catered by Sonny’s BBQ. Del Carr, the PTA professor who approved the community service project, welcomed the group and Matt Connell, PTA program director, awarded prizes during the afternoon. But mostly the event was about getting together and renewing connections.
For more information on the PTA program, visit SCF.edu/PTA. To learn about alumni events and opportunities, contact Erica Wuorio, alumni coordinator, at WuorioE@SCF.edu or 941-752-5391.