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Pierce College graduates will receive first hybrid ceremony in the school’s history

After spending the whole school year off-campus, Pierce College 2021 graduates can partake in both a drive-thru and online graduation to end the year. 

On June 18 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m, Pierce College will hold part of its 2021 graduation ceremony at the Tacoma Dome in a drive-thru celebration. Graduates will remain in their vehicles and drive through a designated route while staff and faculty stand by to cheer them on. Graduates are encouraged to wear their cap and gowns and decorate their vehicles for the occasion.

Later on that day at 3:30 p.m., a virtual ceremony will premiere consisting of speeches from staff, graduate shoutouts and more. Students will have the opportunity to watch the ceremony on demand once it premieres on YouTube.

“We started talks about how the 2021 graduation will go right after last year’s graduation when we were able to keep an eye out for what other schools did and what students seemed to like and dislike,” said Nolan Ryan, district events manager at Pierce College.

The graduation ceremony for 2021 was planned more accordingly from the amount of time available. In comparison to last year, schools have had much more time to put their graduations together, a luxury the class of 2020 ceremony wasn’t given. 

In 2020, Pierce College conducted an online graduation ceremony and some graduates opted to show up to both the Puyallup and Fort Steilacoom campuses to take photos in their cars. 

“Last year was frankly a little bit flat when it came to graduation, so we really wanted to dress that up this year for our graduates, and I think that we’re going to do that,” said Allie Morrow, the student programs coordinator at the Fort Steilacoom campus. 

Morrow explained how the planning team for the 2021 graduation felt inspired after receiving a video from the director of student life at Columbia Basin College showing their school’s drive-thru graduation celebration. Morrow passed the video on to Ryan who passed it onto the rest of the team and everyone took inspiration from it, combining elements from the video with external ideas. 

Many of the ideas brought to the table by the team at the beginning focused mainly on the safety of the graduates and their families. The next big component was to provide graduates with a more interactive ceremony that still caters to their needs of wanting a more traditional graduation. 

“We know that everyone is still super busy and that being virtual requires students to be pulled in many different directions, so we mainly wanted to do what we had the capacity to pull off and remain accessible to grads,” said Ryan.

The graduation planning team also made sure to listen to feedback students gave about last year’s ceremony and what they would’ve liked to have done instead. Additionally, team members listened to what upcoming grads wanted to see happen for their ceremony this year.

 The committee is made up of people from each campus who stayed in contact with students all year via phone and email and were able to provide student input for graduation planning. 

This year, grads will have the option to receive a graduation cap and gown to wear to the ceremony; an update from last year after students expressed to staff how they wished they also got a gown to pair along with the caps and tassels they received from Pierce. 

“It’s been a great experience. The committee is composed of really wonderful people in the college who are vested into making students happy and making sure their graduation values all the hard work they’ve put in,” said Morrow. 

For students with any questions regarding graduation, they can contact graduation@pierce.ctc.edu and regularly check their student emails for updates regarding graduation. 

The Puyallup Post is the award-winning news media of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2018. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube @thepuyalluppost

Alexis Garcia

Pierce College graduates will receive first hybrid ceremony in the school’s history

by Alexis Garcia time to read: 3 min
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