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ESCC plans for in-person graduation services

ESCC plans for in-person graduation services

Enterprise State Community College will hold a socially distanced, in-person graduation service on Thursday, May 13, from 6-7 p.m.

This year’s ceremony will be held “Under the Oaks” on the main quad in front of the Wallace Administration Building. Safety protocols will be in place during the event, according to ESCC President Matt Rodgers, including a mask requirement. All faculty, staff and graduates will receive a mask with the College seal for the ceremony.

“We missed honoring our graduates in person last year, but thanks to the work of a great team of people, I believe we have developed a plan that will allow us to gather together safely to celebrate this milestone for the members of the class of 2020 and 2021,” Rodgers said. “However, while I look forward to celebrating in person, we will remain flexible and adjust our plans based on changing virus conditions or changes in public health guidelines. The College is prepared to shift our plans should circumstances surrounding the pandemic change or worsen. We will provide everyone with updates as needed leading up to commencement.”

The College is renting a stage, two screens, a sound system and 850 chairs. The chairs will seat up to 80 faculty/staff members, 108 graduates and 662 visitors, with 24 chairs being reserved for handicapped individuals.

The chairs will be placed six feet apart to maintain social distancing. Graduates, faculty and staff will be located closer to the stage with visitor seating located behind the graduates. The two screens will allow audience members to view the stage from a distance.

“Commencement is a pivotal occasion for our students, their loved ones and our community,” Public Relation and Marketing Director Stephen Schmidt said. “The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff remain our top priority, and we will continue to work in partnership with health officials to make safe choices to celebrate our students’ collegiate accomplishments.”

According to Schmidt, the decision to move forward with in-person commencement ceremonies was made possible by having the event outside and following social distancing guidelines.

“As our safety team and committee began discussing the event, we looked at possible sites on and off-campus,” he said. “Knowing the desire to have graduation on our campus, our facilities director, Michael Helms, took the time to measure the front quad to determine if it was the best location. We are pleased to report that the area was suitable for the ceremony and able to offer social distancing.”

Additionally, the College will rent equipment to livestream the event for those community members who wish to view the ceremony from home. The livestream will be found on the Enterprise State Community College Facebook page.

A professional photographer will take pictures of graduates on stage after they receive their diplomas. The College will not host a reception following the event, but graduates and visitors are encouraged to take pictures with William “Bo” Weevil, located at the front of the campus, after the ceremony.

During the ceremony, both Spring 2021 graduates from ESCC and the Alabama Aviation College, a unit of Enterprise State, and Spring 2020 graduates – recognized during last year’s virtual graduation ceremonies – will be recognized. Last year’s graduates were invited by Rodgers to attend the next in-person graduation ceremony held at the College and be recognized first in the ceremony as honored guests.

ESCC will also host GED Graduation “Under the Oaks” on Wednesday, May 12, from 6-7 p.m. Last year’s GED graduates are also invited to attend this year’s event.

This event will follow the same safety protocols and feature the same socially distanced layout as the College’s graduation event. Similarly, a livestream of the GED graduation will be available on the Enterprise State Community College Facebook page.

A photographer will take photos of the graduates on stage after they receive their GED, and all graduates and visitors are encouraged to take pictures with William “Bo” Weevil after the ceremony. There will be no reception following the event.

“Graduation is a special time for us to recognize our students’ achievements,” Rodgers said. “We are very much excited to hold this important event for our students and their families on our campus once again.

“Congratulations to all those being recognized. You have worked hard to get where you are today, and all of us here at Enterprise State and the Alabama Aviation College is proud to join you in celebrating your many accomplishments.”

Cutline: During one of the last graduation ceremonies held “Under the Oaks,” 2016-17 SGA president Katie Sullivan (at podium) spoke during the 2017 ESCC graduation ceremony held in front of the Wallace Administration Building. During this year’s graduation, safety protocols will be in place for event-goers and graduates, including masks and social distancing. The event will also be available to watch live on the ESCC Facebook page.

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