Class of 2021 will ride on Ring Road, not walk on stage

The+Class+of+2021+will+mark+graduation+day+in+a+%22car-mencement%22+on+Ring+Road+on+May+27.+Shown%2C+former+Campus+Current+Editor-in-Chief+Christian+Ritchey%2C+who+graduated+last+spring+and+participated+in+the+Class+of+2020+car+parade.

Daniel Nickerson

The Class of 2021 will mark graduation day in a “car-mencement” on Ring Road on May 27. Shown, former Campus Current Editor-in-Chief Christian Ritchey, who graduated last spring and participated in the Class of 2020 car parade.

Hannah Boring, Reporter

For the second spring in a row, AACC graduates will trade walking across a stage for driving around Ring Road on graduation day. 

The college, which has been mostly closed since March 2020 because of the pandemic, will host a “car-mencement” at 10 a.m. on May 27 rather than a traditional commencement ceremony. 

Dr. John Grabowski, the dean of enrollment services, said the decision will protect the health and safety of AACC students and their families.  

“[AACC] has adopted the guiding principle of health and safety first through the pandemic, and we determined that an in-person, acrossthestage commencement ceremony was still too risky,” Grabowski said. “We [made] these decisions in January [and] February, and the parade is in May, and so based on the information we had then, we decided we’re going to be safe.” 

Grabowski described the commencement ceremony as a “parade backwards,” with the graduates riding down the middle of the road and faculty, staff and well-wishers cheering from the sides.  

“I think it was the right call to do a graduation ceremony like a car parade,” Student Government Association President Ryan Kim, who is graduating with a transfer studies degree, said. “It’s kind of disappointing to not be on stage, but I think for the safety of all the students or the parents or the guardians, this is a thing that I definitely agree with and support.” 

Some students, like Kayleigh Katzenberger, a second-year transfer studies student, said she will not attend the car commencement because it won’t be a traditional ceremony. 

“I am glad they’re giving graduating students something, but with all the other options that other schools are doing, I feel like they could have done better,” Katzenberger said. “That’s the whole reason why I ended up not signing up for graduation.”  

###