San Jacinto College celebrated its spring and summer graduates a little differently this year. Like many things in 2020, the commencement was held virtually.
The ceremony started at 7 p.m. on Aug. 7 to a recorded welcome from San Jacinto College Chancellor Dr. Brenda Hellyer.
"Commencement is always a highlight of my year, and this year has been unlike any other," Hellyer said. "I'm as disappointed that we couldn't celebrate the event in person as you all are. Even though the virtual commencement ceremony wasn't what we would have chosen, we are still incredibly proud of all of our graduates. Thank you for your commitment and your fortitude."
The graduates, who ranged from 16 to 69, were each called by name as their photo passed the screen to honor their accomplishments.
The students who graduated experience an unprecedented last semester as COVID-19 forced institutions to move instruction online. One of those graduates, Veronica Capozzoli, who received her Associate of Arts degree in social and behavioral sciences, says moving to a virtual space was "difficult to say the least."
Capozzoli was enrolled in a biology course with a lab for dissection. When her course was moved online, she admittedly struggled.
"I am a hands-on learner, and I like to get clarification from my instructor while we are learning in the classroom," Capozzoli said. "Unfortunately, in a virtual space you don't have that immediate feedback."
Though it may have been difficult, Capozzoli and many others made it through to celebrate their graduation with friends and family.
"I've been through a lot of difficult things in my life, and I haven't let any of them stop me from getting where I am today," Capozzoli said. "This was just another bump in the road and I am proud of what I achieved."
The ceremony garnered over 12,000 views from friends, family, faculty and staff. To view the ceremony, visit https://youtu.be/u_q2N9lZQ6c.