JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - East Tennessee State University, King College, and Milligan College all held graduations Saturday.
"It feels good. I'm just glad to be done," says graduate Michael Sheffield.
Thousands of people crossed the stage and are beginning a new chapter in their lives.
This is Sheffield's third time walking across the stage at ETSU, earning his second masters degree in teaching. But he tells News 5 even with three degrees, he's still concerned about getting a job. "I go back and forth. Some days I feel a bit terrible because there are so many of us that are graduating and there aren't that many teaching positions out there. Especially for what I'm teaching, which is history. So I feel pretty down about it," added Sheffield.
Atlanta Falcons head coach and newly-inducted ETSU Hall of Fame member Mike Smith was the keynote speaker for ETSUs second graduation service Saturday. His advice to graduates is to keep their heads up. "There's going to be trials and tribulations and you're going to have lessons that you're going to learn. Some of them are going to smack you in the face, some of them are going to be very beneficial for you in the future," Coach Smith said.
William Cate, a new graduate from ETSU, says to get the job you want you need to stand out. "You really are your own business. That is the most important thing to realize when trying to find a job. There are a thousand of you applying for the same job. You have to be something special," he said.
Here are some facts from Saturday's graduations:
1,792 graduates received degrees at ETSU.
Milligan saw 219 graduates, one of the largest graduating classes in the school's history.
King College had 369 graduates, the last who will graduate from King College. The next class will be graduates from King University as the school gets ready to change names June 1.
Students from Northeast State will graduate on Tuesday. We're told it's the largest graduating class ever from the school. Their graduation will be Tuesday at 7 p.m.
More than 1,200 degrees and certificates will be handed out by Northeast State. The graduation ceremony will take place at the Mini-dome on ETSU's campus.