With graduation coming up ahead Seward County Community College is excited to announce the plans for this year’s graduation. Last year students were not able to celebrate because of COVID-19. This year however SCCC has been working toward giving students the most traditional ceremony they can offer despite the pandemic.
“We’re just excited that we’ll get to have it and allow the graduates to traditionally walk with their cap and gowns across the stage.” Celeste Donovan, Vice President of student services, said.
Donovan stated that there will be a few things done differently this year. There will be temperature checks and social distancing all across the floor per the recommendations of the CDC guidelines. Families will be asked to sit together and socially distance themselves from others.
Alaina Rice, from the registrar, added that there will be no guest speaker this year, along with no special music. All of this is going to be done to keep the ceremony shorter and to keep the crowds together for less time.
Rice anticipates that each ceremony on Saturday “won’t be any more than 45 minutes.”
The ceremony will take place at the SCCC gym, called the Greenhouse, and will also be live-streamed on Facebook.
The nursing students won’t participate in that ceremony since they’re doing everything Friday evening. Nursing students will have their capping and pinning ceremony and will obtain their diploma covers as they would normally be handed in the regular Saturday ceremony.
On Saturday morning there will be a ceremony at 9 a.m. for Industrial Tech, Cosmetology, Business Administrative Technology and all the rest of Allied Health (besides nursing). Graduates will walk across the stage like they would any other year.
Then at 11 a.m., the ceremony will begin for any graduates obtaining an Associates of Arts, Associates of Science, Associates of General Studies, as well as the remaining students who will be getting an Associate of Applied Science Degree.
There will be a maximum of 120 candidates for graduation on the floor at each ceremony. If any student has failed to apply by the deadline for graduation, which was in November, they have been told that they may not be allowed to walk.
“I hate to exclude anybody but that’s also one of the reasons it’s really important to pay attention to deadlines because we have to be able to plan for seats on the floor.” Alaina Rice said.
Having COVID in mind and social distancing, students are only allowed to bring two guests per student. According to Rice, limiting the amount of guests students are allowed to bring can allow for the college to keep the crowd safe in the stands.
Students are being asked to grab two tickets for their guests from Barb Feese at the information desk. Students MUST present their IDs to pick up their tickets and are only allowed to pick up their own.
“We will only have the green seats open for guests to sit in and we are asking that everybody wear a mask over their mouth and nose,” Rice. said.
Regardless of COVID, Araseli Basurto is excited about graduation as she gets to graduate with her mother Susana.
Basurto is happy that she will get to have a more traditional graduation after such a crazy year. She feels that with a traditional ceremony she can enjoy it more as it won’t be something simply done online.
“It feels really special to have at least a few of your relatives see you walk across that stage after so much hard work.” Basurto, a Psychology major, said.
Students aren’t the only ones excited about graduation, so is the SCCC staff. Donovan said the two most exciting moments for the staff include orientation and graduation.
“Those are my two favorite times of the year and I’m really glad that we’ll be able to have graduation this year,” Donovan said.
Donovan hopes people will “reflect on the last year and honor the students that got through their college education or graduated in really uncertain times.” She thinks it’s more important now than ever to acknowledge the students’ hard work.
Alaina encouraged every graduate to check their emails for information on practice dates and other updates they will need to know.
She also asked that any first-generation student email her personally to receive a pin to recognize their “special and important accomplishment.”