On May 4, GCC President Dr. David Viar sent out a mass email stating that the college has made the decision to postpone the class of 2020’s commencement ceremony to June 2021. The ceremony will be combined with the class of 2021.
Dr. Viar said in the email that this decision is “the best way to honor our graduates under the current public health and safety limitations.”
GCC sought student input by sending out a survey via email that consisted of both a poll and a comment section for the class of 2020.l. This feedback helped shape the decision of combining the ceremonies in spring 2021. El Vaquero reached out to Student Affairs but did not receive a response on the results of the survey.
This decision is a concern for international students and students who plan to continue their education further away, making it difficult to come back and be a part of the postponed ceremony.
International student Annie Otsuka, who will be graduating with the class of 2020, said that many of her friends who are also international students have gone back home already.
“There’s no reason to stay in the US if we don’t have a graduation ceremony,” Otsuka said.
“The commencement of both classes together will be a reminder of the strength/courage each individual had and overcame during this hard difficult time,” class of 2021 student Marco Paz, Jr. said.
However, Paz shared his concern regarding the available space at GCC and the ability to accommodate the crowds of two graduating classes.
Otsuka plans to get a one-year extension on her student visa but isn’t sure she will come back for a graduation later on. “I’m not sure if I still want to participate in the ceremony a year later. If not many friends and people that I know will be there, it wouldn’t be that much fun.”
While it does not compare to a graduation ceremony, GCC is making efforts to commemorate the class of 2020 by sending out gift packages that will include items like a tassel among other commencement mementos.
Dr. Viar ended the email with a congratulatory message to the graduating class.
“We salute you for all your achievements, especially those that have come during this challenging time. Cheers to you Class of 2020!”
Brenda Valenzuela can be reached at [email protected]