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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

SJVC Visalia Celebrates its First “Drive Up” Graduation

November 17, 2020

On Friday, October 16, 2020, SJVC Visalia held its first-ever drive-up-style graduation. Proud graduates attended to receive their degree covers and commemorate the occasion.

“All students who graduated from their program between February and September of 2020 were invited to attend,” explains Kenneth Guerrero, SJVC Visalia Campus President. “We had about 100 graduates attend out of 310 eligible students.”

The graduation event was drive-up only, with COVID-19 safety protocols in place; all wore masks and personal protective equipment. The area was set up with balloon arches, balloon columns, and a cheering squad with noisemakers. The event ran from 6-8 p.m.

“For safety, people weren’t allowed to get out of their cars, but they were allowed to bring as many friends and family in cars as they wanted,” explains Amanda Ogata, Campus Dean. “Graduates came through and brought their grandparents, parents, and others—there were lots of graduates with multiple cars.”

SJVC staff members photographed each graduate as they came through to be presented with their degree covers; graduates normally receive their official degree via mail within weeks of their graduation date.

Though this group of graduates faced a couple of uncertain weeks during COVID-19—when their course of study faced restrictions from learning in person—they were able to go back in May to complete their lab portion. Labs resumed then at half-classroom capacity, with safety measures such as floor stickers to indicate social distance, masks, and gloves.

“In this pandemic, we are trying to get our students through their program smoothly, and get them to graduation,” says Dean Ogata. “We want them to feel proud, and we want it all to feel as normal as possible.”

Kenneth Guerrero has a few more words for this wonderful group of graduates.

“Class of 2020, your persistence and resilience has been inspiring!” he says. “I am so proud of all the hard work and dedication that you’ve shown, and all that you have accomplished. You have faced adversity and provided a shining example for all those who follow you, while paving the way for greatness. Some of you will make a name for yourselves right out of the gate and some of you will continue on the path of education. Whatever you do, be brilliant! Good luck in all you do!”

SJVC Visalia Drive Thru Graduation

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