FSDB Alumnus to Address Classes of 2020


Distinguished alumnus Patrick Turnage of St. Augustine will provide remarks as guest presenter for the 106th FSDB Commencement Ceremony to be held virtually on Friday, June 5, 2020. Turnage will share words of inspiration with 2020 graduates from across the state of Florida as they embark on the next chapter of their lives.


A 2001 graduate, Patrick Turnage coordinates provision of assistive technology services at FSDB for teachers, specialists and students. He has more than 10 years' experience in the areas of assistive technology assessment and integration solutions, accessibility compliance and remediation, and universal design practices. Learn more about Patrick Turnage’s background and accomplishments.


Special honors will be bestowed upon Blind High School co-valedictorians Meliora Adell Hatcher and Veronica Lavone Hyatt and salutatorian Derlim Cotté-Alvarado as well as Deaf High School valedictorian Brieara Alyza-Rose Warren and salutatorian Nolan Jenn Fisher. The salutatorians will deliver the opening Pledge of Allegiance and prayer, and the valedictorians will address their respective classes.


Meliora Adell Hatcher is an honor graduate and Blind High School co-valedictorian from Jacksonville; she is a National Honor Society member with 21 earned credits through dual enrollment at St. Johns River State College. One of her proudest moments was winning gold at the 2019 USABA National Goalball Championship on behalf of her FSDB athletic team. Meliora served as class president for four years, student representative for the school advisory council, homecoming princess, and tutor for elementary students. Extracurricular pursuits included the book, creative writing, drama and ski clubs; she also took part in Character Counts, Close Up, Color Guard, Outta Sight, Skills USA and Young Life. Volunteer efforts included the Jacksonville Library, Museum of Contemporary Art and Ronald McDonald House. Meliora has been accepted at the University of Florida, where she plans to major in mathematics with a minor in secondary education.


Veronica Lavone Hyatt is an honor graduate and Blind High School co-valedictorian from Fruitland Park; she is a National Honor Society member with 22 earned credits through dual enrollment at St. Johns River State College. One of her proudest moments is being part of the girl’s goalball team’s fifth consecutive national championship. Veronica is the FSDB nominee for the St. Johns County School District's David Macaulay Mathis Student-Athlete "Pursuing Victory with Honor" Award. She was active on the cheerleading, cross country, goalball, soccer, and track teams. Extracurricular pursuits included the book and ski clubs, Close Up, Girl Scouts, Skills USA, and Young Life. Veronica has been accepted at Florida State University, where she plans to major in cellular molecular neuroscience.



Derlim Cotté-Alvarado is an honor graduate from St. Augustine. One of Derlim's proudest moments was selection as the Blind High School salutatorian. A National Honor Society member, she was active in the book, clay and STEM clubs, Outta Sight, and Skills USA. She earned varsity letters as a member of the swimming and soccer teams. Derlim was also a recipient of the National School Choral Award, representing FSDB. Volunteer efforts included Puerto Rico hurricane recovery assistance, Feeding Northeast Florida food bank service, and middle school math tutoring. Derlim plans to pursue a major in mechanical engineering at the University of North Florida.



Brieara Alyza-Rose Warren is an honor graduate and Deaf High School valedictorian from Crescent City; she is a Best and Brightest Scholarship recipient. Brieara also earned an Associate of Arts degree through dual enrollment at St. Johns River State College. One of her proudest moments was selection as Sunshine State Scholar during her junior year, representing FSDB. Active in athletics, Brieara served as captain of the volleyball team and a member of the cheerleading team. Extracurricular pursuits included the Academic Bowl, book club, and Dance Troupe. She served as class president for three years, worked as a recreation program assistant after school, and was chosen as homecoming queen during her senior year. Brieara plans to pursue a four-year combined bachelor's and master's degree university program in a field that involves helping and educating people.


Nolan Jenn Fisher is an honor graduate and Deaf High School salutatorian from Gainesville; she is a Best and Brightest Scholarship recipient. Nolan also earned an Associate of Arts degree through dual enrollment at St. Johns River State College. One of her proudest moments was winning the Mason-Dixon Volleyball and cheerleading championships on behalf of FSDB; she served as captain of the volleyball team. Extracurricular pursuits included the Academic Bowl and Dance Troupe; she also served as secretary for her class. Nolan plans to pursue a dual major in criminology and psychology at the University of South Florida.

The virtual graduation ceremony will be structured in the same manner as past events; welcoming remarks will be provided by Thomas M. Zavelson, M.D. on behalf of the Board of Trustees and FSDB President Jeanne Glidden Prickett, Ed.D. Videos of graduates engaging in the time-honored traditions of turning of their tassel and tossing their caps in the air will be featured during the ceremony. Family members and friends are encouraged to join in all three virtual events below to watch and celebrate with the Classes of 2020:



Our virtual events will allow for seniors, student-athletes and their families to participate from the comfort and safety of their own homes. Digital program books are being prepared; these and post-event videos also will be available on the FSDB website.

About FSDB

The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind is a tuition-free state public school and outreach center available to eligible Pre-K and K-12 students who are deaf/hard of hearing, blind/visually impaired, or deafblind. At FSDB, students learn how to do more, be more, and achieve more, fulfilling our vision of preparing them for a lifetime of success. FSDB gratefully accepts private donations to support vital programs that directly benefit students and are not paid by state general revenue funds. For a campus tour or to inquire about eligibility for enrollment, contact FSDB Parent Services at 904-827-2212 voice or 904-201-4527 videophone. For more information, visit www.fsdbk12.org

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