Getting ready for graduation

Courtesy photo.

By LIZ MOORE, Ranger Reporter:

As the semester comes to a close, students are preparing for finals, and some are also preparing for graduation. On May 12, the next group of Amarillo College graduates will walk the stage and receive their diplomas. Between 300 and 400 students will graduate next month, either with an associate degree or a certificate.

The AC bookstore helps the students prepare for graduation. The bookstore provides everything a student will need for the commencement ceremony. They have caps and gowns, and for the students graduating with an associates, they also have an associate’s hood for the students to wear.

“We just have people that when they come in, we try to help them by figuring out how tall they are and making sure they get the right size gown,” said Dennis Leslie, bookstore manager, noting they also try to determine “whether or not they’re getting a certificate or associate degree and whether they need the hood, so we have all that for them.”

Leslie said that the cost of a cap, gown and tassel for someone earning a certificate comes out to $29.12 after tax, and for someone earning an associates who will also need a hood, it comes out to about $50.

The registrar’s office will reach out to every student who will be completed or near completed by the end of this semester. In the coming weeks, college officials will send out letters detailing what classes a student is missing, if any, and providing a web address that has information the student will need before graduation.

“We try to make it as easy as we can for the students,” said Kristin McDonald-Willey, associate registrar. “They don’t have to apply for graduation.”

McDonald-Willey said that students will only need to show up on graduation day, and that students who will be finished in the summer will be able to walk in the May commencement ceremony as well. She also said that those who register for a summer class to complete their degrees after all the commencement program information is sent to the printer, are still welcome to walk. Their names will not be printed in the brochure for this graduation, but will appear in the brochure for the December graduation.

Leslie said that the bookstore assists the registrar’s office by counting the number of caps that have been sold. “Everybody needs a cap, so when it gets closer I try to tell them, ‘we’ve sold 375 caps,’” said Leslie. “They’re trying to set up chairs so they’re trying to figure out how many students to expect, but it’s kind of a guessing game because people can show up and walk and we let them.”

As for guests, there’s not a limit on how many can attend per graduate; however, there is a link that allows friends and family members not able to attend to view the graduation live. The link also has information for students regarding the day of graduation, such as where to enter, where to line up and dress code. All of this information will be available at

In just a few short weeks, a group of students will become alums of Amarillo College, and Leslie said the graduates should feel a sense of accomplishment.

“I’m very proud of Amarillo College. It’s one of the best junior colleges or community colleges in the country,” said Leslie. “For somebody to get a degree from here, they ought to be proud of the work they put into it.”

As for what students think, mass media major Josh Diaz put it simply: “Finally being done with this is pretty cool.”

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