Santa Fe College students won’t be participating in an in-person commencement ceremony this Spring.
The college plans to hold a virtual graduation to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines, Vice President of Student Affairs Naima Brown said. The ceremonies are scheduled for April 29-30 on a website created specifically for the graduation, according to Santa Fe’s website.
“We want to honor our graduates, but we also want to make sure that our community stays safe,” Brown said.
There will be three commencements total: the nurses pinning ceremony; a ceremony for bachelor’s degrees, associate of science degrees, associate of applied science degrees and vocational certificates; and one for all associate degrees, according to Santa Fe’s website.
Santa Fe will use the same online format as its December commencement, which celebrated Spring, Summer and Fall 2020 graduates and the nurses pinning ceremony, a tradition for graduating nurses, Brown said.
The college will create a website where students can access prerecorded speeches, a presentation slide for each graduate and a downloadable program, Brown said. Graduates can personalize their slides by uploading a picture and a quote to include with the name of their degree.
College President Paul Broadie II, the Student Body president and Board of Trustees chair will deliver speeches taped in advance, Brown said. Santa Fe’s provost will also say each student's name through an audio recording, she said.
Graduates must submit their graduation application by March 3 to participate. Once submitted, students will receive a follow-up email to upload their chosen photos and quotes by April 13, she said.
As of Tuesday, Santa Fe does not have plans for in-person makeup ceremonies, Brown said. However, if graduates still want to walk, and it’s safe, the college will provide them with a future opportunity to do so, she said.
Unlike Santa Fe, UF is still tentatively planning for in-person Spring 2021 and 2020 makeup ceremonies. Registration for makeup commencement opened Jan. 25 and will be available until March 15, according to UF’s commencement website.
Santa Fe does not hold Summer commencements, so students planning to graduate Summer 2021 can either participate in Spring graduation or to wait until December 2021, Brown said.
Fewer students participated in the December 2020 ceremonies than in the past. As a result, the college is focusing on making students more aware of Spring 2021 virtual graduation, Brown said.
In addition to the online ceremonies, Santa Fe is planning a drive-thru ceremony for graduates, Brown said. The event does not have a date yet, she said. Where it will be held and which graduates can participate is also unknown.
“We heard our students, and they said, ‘We want more than the virtual graduation,’” Brown said. “‘We want to feel like we’re being recognized.’”
Bruna Cabrera, an 18-year-old Santa Fe microbiology and cell science second-year, will graduate this Spring with her associate degree. She plans to transfer to UF as a microbiology major, she said.
Cabrera said she will participate in the virtual ceremonies and looks forward to being acknowledged for her hard work.
“It’d be nice to have it in person, but since everything is going online and social distancing and everything, I guess it’s the best thing they can do,” Cabrera said.
Contact Juliana Ferrie at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @juliana_f616.
Juliana Ferrie is a second-year UF journalism student. She is excited to be working for The Alligator as the Santa Fe Beat reporter. In her free time, you can find her reading or listening to music.