State college students share perspective on idea of having a virtual graduation

The Antigua State College. (social media photo)
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By Latrishka Thomas

The possibility exists that many graduates will have to forgo their victorious walk across the stage this year.  In lieu, they may have to settle for online ceremonies.

Though no plans have not been finalized by the Antigua State College (ASC) administration, students told Observer exactly how they would feel if such a decision was made.

One A-Level student said that although he does recognize the need to adapting in this current crisis, “graduations are about celebration and congratulation; a moment where through hugs and handshakes it is expressed to graduates by family, friends and teachers that something great has been accomplished [and] without such I don’t see how it serves a purpose to the graduates.

As such, he said that he would opt not to participate. 

“I made a lot of friends and really appreciated the teachers but now knowing you won’t get that final hurrah and celebration in person with your friends is a huge letdown,” another likeminded student lamented.

A young lady also shared similar sentiments saying, “because I am student who worked extremely hard over the past two years, I expected to experience the traditional graduation ceremony and most notably, the walk to accept my diploma. It is very disheartening that this is all the graduating class would receive.”

She suggested hosting the graduation at the Vivian Richards Stadium where there is enough room for social distancing.

A student from the Business Department added that despite wanting to be safe “the idea of a virtual graduation is quite disappointing.”

One of the biggest concerns raised was whether the usual graduation fee of $500 should still be charged if the graduation was to be conducted online.

“Shouldn’t the fee be reduced since we aren’t renting the church,” one individual asked.

A female Business student said: “It’s stupid to be spending so much when we don’t even have a venue since it’s virtual” and would therefore want at least a portion of the fee already paid by many to be returned.

The students all agree that $500 would be tough ask noting that they will be using their own internet service and so on.

And to that effect, a student iterated the unreliability of the internet, while noting that “the virtual graduation isn’t a bad idea [because] we are ready to do those here…”

One youngster suggested that only a fraction of the fee be charged “for awards and certificates.“

On the other hand, one student was open to the idea.

“In view of current circumstances, it’s probably the best option for a send-off,” he remarked but again stating that the $500 charge should be reduced.

 When Observer spoke to Administrators at the college, they said that student representatives have been selected to relay their colleagues’ thoughts and concerns re their graduation.

The college officials added that a final decision may be revealed in short order.

This years ASC graduation was set to take place on June 25 2020 prior to Covid-19. The postponed date is still yet to be determined. However, students have been asked to pay their graduation fee by July 29. Fees were originally to be paid upon registering for the school in September.

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