Preparations underway for graduation

By Jessica Suico, News Editor

Students who completed the course requirements to earn a degree are weeks away from the spring 2019 graduation. Families and friends will gather May 24 at 6 p.m. in the Richmond Memorial Auditorium to see students reap the rewards of semesters of hard work.

Dean of student services Dennis Franco said roughly 300 graduates will participate in the actual ceremony, but more students than that will graduate.

Each graduating student gets a limited number of tickets for family and friends, five, despite requests for extra tickets from students.

“We want to be able to be sure that there is enough seating for all graduates and as many family members as possible,” Franco said.

The graduation procession will include college administrators, faculty and the graduating students.

Contra Costa College President Katrina VanderWoude and District Governing Board Trustee John Marquez will open the ceremony with a message to the graduates.

Short speeches from the presidents of the academic, classified, and student senates will follow. Following the remarks, graduates will receive their degrees punctuated by closing remarks from VanderWoude.

In preparation for the impending graduation ceremony, students at CCC have been finalizing their plans.

The Bookstore has been full of students being fitted for cap and gowns.

Cap and gowns are $36.95 plus tax or free through the Extended Opportunity Programs (EOPS).

“We have seen about a quarter of our customers come in for their cap and gowns,” Operations Coordinator Darris Crear said.

According to Crear, the Bookstore has ordered about 400 cap and gowns through Jostens Company.

Graduating English major Janice Rodriguez is looking forward to this month’s ceremony.

“It’s a good celebration for the students. With all the stresses we are handed, it’s a great ending to all the hard work,” she said.

Graduation is an honor for the family as well as yourself, she said.

The English major has been at Contra Costa College since spring 2016 and was accepted to San Francisco State University.

“CCC has brought me closer to my LGBTQ community,” Rodriguez said.

According to Rodriguez, English professors Brandon Marshall, Jeffrey Smith and Michael Shannon all played large parts in her development.

Although it is an annual event, planning for the graduation takes place months prior to the actual evening.

Everything from booking the auditorium to finding and booking an available florist. A sound person and photographer also have to be chosen well in advance as well.

Franco said, “As the date draws closer, we pull together. The graduation planning committee checks on different parts of the college, like the number of graduates from admissions and records down to the caps and gowns at the Bookstore.”

There is also help from the marketing team who makes flyers and programs.

The graduation committee meets more than once, so they make sure all the targets are met.

“For example, this year we have both faculty and administrators reading the names to make sure we have everything correct,” Franco said.

Committee members also walk through the program to see if there are any changes to be made, he said.

Franco is looking forward to witnessing how all the stress and challenges that students face culminates in a joyous moment. Especially one that sees the entire college and the surrounding community comes together and celebrate the amazing accomplishments of students.

“College is often challenging for students and their families due to hectic schedules, stretched budgets and other hardships,” Franco said.