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A different way to graduate

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Grand Rapids Community College will be hosting a virtual commencement ceremony on Aug. 1 to honor the graduating class (Sabrina Edwards/The Collegiate)

The 2020 Grand Rapids Community College commencement will be held a little differently than it has been in the past: it will be virtual. Due to concerns regarding large groups gathering, this year’s graduation will be streamed online Aug. 1.

On July 7 and 8 GRCC is hosting GRADfest, a drive through graduation kit pick-up. Students are being asked to register beforehand for their grad kits: registration is available here. However, volunteers will also be onsite helping students register the day of.

The street was lined with cars of students picking up their “grad kit’s” as the college worked to keep the event safe and socially distanced (Sabrina Edwards/The Collegiate).

“It’s different, but I think GRCC is handling it very well,” said Charity Schantz, a GRCC nursing graduate who will be attending the virtual commencement in August.

At GRADfest students will receive a “grad kit” that includes their cap and Class of 2020 tassel, exclusive GRCC alumni gifts, along with other items. If applicable, students who have had military service will receive cords in honor of their service. Students who are society members will be given their Phi Theta Kappa key medallion. All students will receive a “Stole of Appreciation,” which is a part of the GRCC tradition to give it to someone who has aided you along your education.

Alexandra Thompson, another graduate who plans on transferring to Northern Michigan in the fall, echoed Schantz’s remarks, saying while she will be participating in the virtual ceremony she does think it takes away from the experience.

To virtually walk at commencements, students must submit a photo of them wearing their cap, tassel, stole of appreciation, and cords by July 17. Students are being asked to send their photos to studentlife@grcc.edu, including their name and student ID number in the subject line.

“We’re extremely proud of our graduates,” stated Tina Hoxie, associate provost and dean of Student Affairs. “They worked hard on their studies and also to overcome obstacles no one could have envisioned. While this isn’t the Commencement ceremony we expected, we will make sure this year’s event is just as meaningful to our graduates and their families and recognizes their accomplishments.”

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