Graduation goes virtual

Courtesy Photo
Graphic by Brittnee Talley

By Lauren Ebben, Editor-in-Chief

Amarillo College recently announced graduation for the spring semester 2020 will be held virtually to comply with social distancing guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic. Graduation will be held Thursday, May 21 at 7 p.m.

“I think continuing the commencement ceremony shows that AC cares about the hard work students have put it throughout their time here,” Hector Casanova, a business major, said. 

“I think continuing the commencement ceremony shows that AC cares about the hard work students have put it throughout their time here.”

Hector Casanova, Business Major

Alexis Sopha, an electrical engineering major, said she was glad the ceremony was happening and that she wouldn’t have to wait months to receive her degree.

“It’s a great way to meet in the middle for students attending virtually,” she said.

Trang Doan, a biology major, said she plans to participate in the ceremony and is excited to see how everything turns out.

“I didn’t realize that this is going to be the 100th commencement, so that’s exciting,” she said. “Of course, I’m going to attend the ceremony. I won’t have to leave my favorite couch, so why not?” 

Katie Phelan, who is graduating with a major in chemistry and biology, said she was disappointed that the in-person graduation was cancelled, but believes it is the right decision.

“My personal plans were to have my mom and uncle at the graduation to celebrate my successes. They’ve been very supportive and it hurts that they cannot be here personally to see me walk the stage,” she said. “Perhaps a virtual graduation will give more opportunity for friends and family to participate who wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.”

According to an AC news release about the commencement ceremony, students graduating this semester will be invited back to walk the stage at the next in-person graduation.

“That sounds great, however I wonder if they are going to implement the current laws we have now such as social distancing,” Sopha said. “I wonder if we will have to change scenery because of how far we have to be from one another. I most likely won’t walk because I will probably be busy with my classwork, job or internship. I’m ready to move forward to what the future might have in store for me,” she said.

Lauren Tanner, an English major, said walking in the next commencement will not work for everyone. 

“That’ll give those who are still living in the Amarillo Panhandle area a chance for an actual graduation,” she said. “But those like me who are transferring and moving out of this area or out of state, we won’t have that celebration. It’s a little unfair for those students.”

Phelan said she plans to walk the stage if the graduation doesn’t conflict with her schedule.

“My heart goes out to those impacted by COVID-19. This is unprecedented in our lifetime. I don’t think anyone could have planned for this. I’m impressed with how AC has handled this and want to be supportive of the decisions they are making,” she said.

The college will be shipping graduation caps and gowns to students free of charge, according to the press release. Graduates planning to participate in the ceremony need to fill out a form by April 30 in order to receive their regalia. These forms, along with more information about graduation, can be found here. 

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