Graduating amidst COVID-19: A new outlook on an old tradition

This+years+commencement+ceremony+for+the+class+of+2020+will+look+nothing+like+this%2C+as+cancellations+happened+due+to+COVID-19.+A+video+will+be+uploaded+this+Saturday+however%2C+to+recognize+the+efforts+of+the+graduation+class.+

Daniela Carmona

This years commencement ceremony for the class of 2020 will look nothing like this, as cancellations happened due to COVID-19. A video will be uploaded this Saturday however, to recognize the efforts of the graduation class.

By Denise Perez and Elvis Polvon

“Congratulations class of 2020!” These are the words that thousands of graduates across the world strived to hear. Due to COVID-19, like other colleges, Seward County Community College made the decision to close campus and move to an online format of classes, for the safety of students, and staff. 

Along with this decision, many events have been canceled including sports events, the spring musical, the band concert and unfortunately graduation. 

This year’s graduating class had over 350 students ready to walk the stage and collect their degrees. Instead, SCCC will be uploading a video of pictures in recognition of the graduating class of 2020, which will be available to play at 10 a.m. on May 2. 

The video will include the name of each graduate, their honors and if they are a first generation student, along with a photo of the graduate. The day of, the public can find a link to the ceremony through SCCC’s facebook page or Crusader’s page. This is a way to still honor the students despite the cancelation of the commencement. 

The annual commencement ceremony is special for so many different reasons for sophomores at SCCC. For some, it’s special due to the effort that was put in to receive a degree this Spring. Some students are first generation graduates, like sophomore Yanelly Jurado, which means their parents have not received a college degree and they are the first in their family to graduate from college.

“I hate that we don’t get to create memories with family, friends, and classmates. Being the first to graduate in my entire family, I was really looking forward to this,” Jurado said.

Additionally, nursing students are usually given a pinning ceremony. They are introduced to the beginning of their career, along with the cosmetology, and industrial tech students. But, that has also been canceled.

Students at SCCC realise the necessity of social distancing, but many are left with disappointment at the loss of experiences. 

“I will say that it is still disappointing not to have an official ceremony though, especially with how hard my major is,” Megan Sims, sophomore laboratory technology major, said. 

I hate that we don’t get to create memories with family, friends, and classmates. Being the first to graduate in my entire family, I was really looking forward to this.”

— Yanelly Jurado

Natalie Melendez, graduating biology major agrees with Sims and said, “We’ve spent so long working for a degree, and in the end we get a video with our faces. It’s a little disappointing.” 

Celebrations that were planned to make their day special were also taken away. Sims had to cancel her trip to Kansas City for a game of the Los Angeles Dodgers vs the Kansas City Royals, a 3-game series that would have taken place at Kauffman Stadium.

But it isn’t taken away entirely, as students will still try their best to celebrate in small ways. Sims said her family will continue to celebrate the graduation of herself, along with her sister, by coming together as a family and enjoying a pizza movie night, with some dessert.

A few students are actually happy they will not have to pay for additional costs for the graduation. 

“I’m glad we won’t have to buy the cap and gown. I’m somewhat glad we won’t have to sit through the long ceremony, but still a little sad that we won’t be able to have that experience with our classmates and friends,” Jurado said.

Other students are not so disappointed. Juliet Nava, sophomore biology major, who is planning to attend Kansas State University this fall, said she’s not too sad herself. ”I feel alright, it’s better than not having anything at all. I think I don’t feel too bad because I will be having more graduations, but I feel bad for students who are not returning to school after this semester.” 

Nava’s older brother’s are graduating too, but for them this is the end, like many others graduating from a four year school.

“I think doing a virtual graduation is a great idea. I talked to several of my college friends, and there are lots of places that aren’t doing anything at all for graduation,” Sims said, still looking on the bright side.

Sims added that it is encouraging that Seward is still showing their support for us in this way. 

“Life is never easy, and it very rarely meets our expectations and fulfills our hopes,” Sims said. Sims has shown that she understands the hardships in life and that “eternity is not a way to make life easier” and hopes that the graduates live their lives to the fullest, by living in faith, love, and service for others. 

This story was originally published on The Crusader on April 29, 2020.