Ceremony will be online graduation day, May 2
Commencement. It is hands-down the favorite day of the year for Seward County Community College Registrar Alaina Rice. This time around, though, the day that celebrates student achievement will be like nothing Rice has seen during her years in academia.
“When the announcement came that we would have to close campus because of COVID-19, I knew that meant graduation was also going to be affected,” she said. “I sat in my car in the parking lot and cried.”
Rice isn’t the only one. Students are also disappointed.
It’s not just that they were looking forward to the pomp and circumstance of the ceremony in the SCCC Greenhouse gymnasium. The day represented a giant step forward for their family trajectories.
“The majority of our graduates are first-generation students, which means nobody in their family has walked across that state before,” Rice said. “It is a huge achievement and will literally change their lives for generations to come.”
Whether the graduate is making family history or fulfilling a personal goal on the path to success, Rice doesn’t intend to let that achievement pass unnoticed. Working with a small group of SCCC teammates via teleconferencing, she has organized an online graduation ceremony. The event was announced to graduating SCCC students via email over the weekend.
“I wanted to take some time this afternoon to update you on how we are planning to celebrate your graduation this year,” Rice wrote. “Since we cannot have an in-person ceremony this year we plan to have a virtual commencement ceremony. The virtual ceremony will be uploaded to the college’s YouTube channel and will be available for viewing beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 2nd, which is when would have had our in-person ceremony.”
During the virtual ceremony, each graduate’s name and photo will appear, along with a listing of the certificate and/or degrees to be awarded, along with acknowledgment of those graduating with honors.
“We have asked our graduates to submit their preferred photo to my office by noon April 17, this Friday,” Rice said. She noted the requirement that the photos be tasteful, of sufficient size and resolution to display clearly on screen, and submitted in jpg format.
“For the students who do not submit photos, we will use the student ID image that we have on file for them,” Rice said.
With graduation a mere three weeks away, one thing about the unprecedented “year of COVID-19” remains unchanged: the registrar’s office is busy preparing final transcripts, degree checks, and lists of graduates’ names and degrees earned.
“The finish line is just around the corner,” Rice wrote to students. “Keep up the good work and know how very proud of you we are.”
Graduating SCCC students should send their jpg photo image to: firstname.lastname@example.org. More information about access to the YouTube video and viewing details for the 2020 commencement ceremony will be announced as they become available.