MCCC and MCMC change graduation plans

As part of the 2021 graduation, the Monroe County Middle College designed T-shirts with the help of Monroe Sports Varsity Athletic. With a tiger design by MCMC student Delaney Vanover. The Graduation Task Force, comprised of students, oversaw the design of the shirt. (Graphic designed by Monroe Sports Varsity Athletic Screen Printing & Embroidery and Delaney Vanover).

Graduation ceremonies across campus have gone through several revisions over the past year due to COVID-19’s impact and its restrictions.

If students have been following along with the recent emails regarding MCCC graduation, they know that many changes have been made. Monroe County Middle College (MCMC) students have also been facing a similar situation.

As a result, MCCC has planned to release a special graduation video featuring the graduating students while MCMC plans to still hold a limited capacity in-person graduation ceremony.

Before major COVID-19 outbreak, the schools released dates for their graduation ceremonies via email but did not  expand on any details.

“We are very proud of our graduates and want to celebrate your accomplishments in the safest way possible,” said Courtney Slater, Administrative assistant to the Registrar, said in the email to MCCC students.

The Registrar’s office announced in the email that MCCC would be holding a commencement ceremony for Fall 2020, Winter 2021 and Summer 2021 graduating students.

On March 15, Registrar Tracy Vogt said in an email, “The ceremony will be held drive-in style.” Graduates and guests were to remain in their vehicles while a short ceremony was played over the FM radio.

This setup was not popular among students and faculty also expressed concerns on the growing county coronavirus cases, Slater said.

MCCC student Britannie Bruck models the cap and gown combination that students ordered for graduation (Photo by Megan Sloan).

The commencement ceremony was changed to a  celebratory video.

Slater said this celebratory video is open to all MCCC graduates who want to participate and will be released on April 30.

“‘Be flexible.’ I feel like that’s the mantra of 2021,” said Michele Jenkins, MCMC counselor. “You don’t know what the future holds.”

The MCMC ceremony has gone through just as many revisions for this year’s graduation ceremony to ensure that students are celebrated but kept safe.

The Middle College will hold an in-person indoor ceremony for the 2021 graduating class on May 7, said MCMC Principal Robert Krueger in an email.

He said the event is arranged  so families will move through the Meyer Theater, viewing a few students at a time.

The school will be livestreaming the event in a user-friendly manner to allow more families to view their students from the safety of their homes, Krueger said.

The Graduation Task Force is a team of students that discuss their options to come up with solutions for graduation.

Jenkins said to accommodate safety, the task force went through many plans and used measuring tape to check that all students will safely fit into the Meyer Theater.

Students on the task force designed the Class of 2021 graduation shirt representing the school colors and mascot, she said.

She said that this year is a bigger celebration due to the accomplishments students have achieved including the struggle of online learning.

Krueger said both MCCC and the Middle College have gone to great lengths to keep their students safe while also celebrating in a way students would like.

Although there have been several revisions, he said, both schools now feel they are at the best decision and are happy to honor the 2021 graduating class.