Whenever student- athletes accomplish something on the field fans, coaches and teammates celebrate the achievement. The same can be said for the Knights' accomplishments in the classroom.
For the first time in the fall semester, the UCF Academic Services for Student-Athletes held "A Knights Celebration". The event recognized all of the senior student-athletes who graduated this past semester. 13 Knights were recognized at the event in front of athletic administrators, academic advisors, coaches and other members of the UCF family.
"To actually see it all together at an event like this, I think the students really appreciate this," Associate Athletics Director for Academic Services Kimya Massey said. "Also it's really exciting for us because we hope to inspire them, but they really inspire us to do our jobs on a day to day basis."
"It's amazing when you think about the people that are dedicated to their success," continued Massey. "Between the trainers, strength and conditioning coaches, academic advisors, sport administrators and campus folks. We're really all there for them and we're very passionate about their success."
This past spring semester, the Knights held this same type of celebration for all of its graduating student-athletes. Massey said there were between 70 and 80 student-athletes that were recognized and this is a new tradition the ASSA is going to continue.
St. Petersburg native and women's soccer player Andrea Rodrigues was recognized at the celebration and was a member of this year's Conference USA Tournament Champion women's soccer team. She and her teammates got a lot of recognition for winning that championship, but she's enjoyed the recognition she received at the celebration for her accomplishments in the classroom.
"A lot of people think that athletics is just about what you perform on the field and your championship and everything, but it's about getting an education and being able to balance a lot of your life," Rodrigues said.
Massey says this is a celebration he's seen at many other universities and hopes it will help the student-athletes stay connected to the university after they graduate.
"I think it's really critical in those first couple of years," Massey said. "I think that's when some universities lose some students who sort of go their own way, but we really want to keep in touch with them and make them feel connected."