By Andrea Valdez
Broadcast News Director
Graphic by Michael Bald
The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 put many events on pause especially graduation ceremonies for high school and college graduates. This spring, however, Tyler Junior College is hosting several graduation ceremonies with 75 students per ceremony on Monday, May 10, and Tuesday, May 11, in Wagstaff Gym.
“I feel exited about having the ceremony in person,” Christian Tapia, sophomore music major, said. “If we have to follow a lot of COVID guidelines then so be it, but as long as it’s in person, being able walk along with my other fine art students, I’ll be happy.”
Students can invite up to four guests to the ceremony, and commencement will be held in person in Wagstaff Gym to continue proper social distancing and COVID-19 protocols. A total 25 faculty members will be able to attend the ceremonies alongside their students.
“We are super excited that were going to have a limited number of faculty members that can attend and celebrate their students’ achievements this time,” TJC Registrar, Britt Sabota said. “We want to make sure that we can keep everyone healthy and safe, but we know people want to have a bit more guests a little bit more pomp and circumstance.”
Despite the pandemic, the number of graduates might be a record this year.
“We are excited this spring to have potentially a record number of graduates, which I think says so much about the TJC student body that no matter what challenges are put before them they’re able to rise to the occasion,” Sabota said.
Those who will be graduating in the ceremonies and applied to walk the stage will be able to pick up their cap and gown by the end of April at the registrar’s office on the first floor of the White Administration building. Student will receive more details as the semester nears its end.
TJC had originally planned to do commencement ceremonies in person last year, but plans changed due to COVID-19. There were less graduates at each ceremony and smaller attendance numbers for guests was required. Those who were not able to attend the ceremonies in person were able to watch through Facebook. According to a TJC press release, faculty and staff were represented by cabinet members of the TJC Faculty Senate at the micro-ceremonies.
“When we went to initial pandemic ceremonies, we did 24 ceremonies over three days, so very small ceremonies 20 students with two guests each,” Sabota said.