COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – Chattahoochee Valley Community College had its first in-person graduation since 2019 due to the pandemic.
After a long year of virtual learning, students at CVC we’re able to walk across the stage. The commencement took place on May 12 at the Columbus Convention and Trade Center at 10 a.m., school officials worked tirelessly to give the class of 2021 the graduation they deserved. CVCC President Jackie Screws said this is a joyful moment.
“This is a day of extreme excitement because this is the first time since 2019 that we have actually had the opportunity to do an in-person graduation ceremony. It’s surreal but it’s an exciting moment that we’re able to do this for our students,” Screws said.
In order to make this in-person graduation happen Screws and other school officials had to put a few COVID guidelines in place.
“We positioned chairs 6ft apart, we had to limit the number of guests we had our students invite. Students could only invite two guests per student and we couldn’t invite our local leaders or partners like we traditionally invite,” Screws said.
Despite not having a traditional graduation, nursing graduate Shanella Ogletree said she’s glad her hard work has finally paid off.
“I feel great, it’s been a long journey with COVID and everything, everything has changed and it feels good to have a ceremony,” Ogletree said.
Screws told News 3 this was a bittersweet moment and many students had encouraging messages on their caps.
“Some of the messages that I saw on the caps I think said it well. One person had ‘The pandemic cant stop me.’ There were a whole lot of messages that were just encouraging and it really speaks volumes to what this class has gone through and what those serving the educational realm have gone through,” Screws said.
Graduate Makai Gheliano said she’s nervous about leaving her friends behind.
“Im a little nervous only because I made deeper connections here at CVCC. So I’m a little nervous at branching out and remaking those connections,”
CVCC officials still want the Class of 2020 to feel connected and they may have something in store for them in the near future.
“We may just do that, I do like celebrating with our graduates. That may give them another opportunity to put a seal on their hard work,” Screws said.
Screws told News 3 if she had to do this all over again to give students the graduation they deserve, she would.
“Absolutely without a doubt, without a doubt this is one of the best moments of our school year. Being able to celebrate with our students to see their hard work come to fruition, it’s always great to have a graduation ceremony,” Screws said.
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