Coronavirus impacts Broward College graduates

Barbara Ortiz

Staff Writer

One of the many rites of passage moments a student needs to experience is to feel rewarded for their efforts in school. They spent the last few years studying late at night, disorganized their sleep schedule, and skipping out on having fun with friends. Students risked all these things and more to earn something that cannot be taken away from them, their degree.

Broward College is proud of celebrating its student’s success through a rewarding period in their life. However, due to the pandemic of COVID-19 it put its recent graduates at a stop from the finish line, canceling graduation. Many undergraduate students who attend Broward College are from Latin/Hispanic and Black backgrounds, including first-generation, parents, veterans, fully employed and every student in between.

“I understand and respect that BC is concerned for our safety and well-being, but it does suck that a lot of us who are graduating won’t be able to walk across the stage. A lot of my friends are first-generation students, so being a college graduate is a big issue in the family. And it sucks that we can’t give our family that happy feeling, but it is what it is, and we have to do our part and keep social distancing,” said student Brian Thomas.

“I’m a first-generation college student, and my family was really excited to see me attend graduation in the Spring term. But because of the virus, my family may only be able to see me graduate for my bachelor’s because I am supposed to move to FAU (Florida Atlantic University). But right now, even my family is concerned about me moving on my own, so the future is very unclear now,” said student Reby Sully.

“I’m upset about graduation being canceled because it was my only chance to walk across the stage. I’m just going to get my AA and then go to an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) program, and with that, you don’t get graduation. You only get a certificate, and I wanted to feel like I accomplished something by walking across the stage,” said student Rynida Miller.

For students like Miller, this may be the only graduation they get to experience before going to trade-school or heading straight into their profession.

Carlos Parra, the director of student affairs, has organized BC graduation for the past three years under the leadership of the Associate Vice President Neil Cohen. He acknowledges the students’ concern for them not being able to graduate as expected, and he too is saddened by COVID-19 halting the graduation process.

“I understand that the health and well-being of our community trump everything at this moment and that we will find ways to celebrate our Spring 2020 graduates at a later day when appropriate,” said Parra.

Parra reassures students that despite the pandemic in the way of the spring graduation, it does not mean students will not be able to walk across the stage.

“When we are able to responsibly host another commencement for our students, we’re going to throw the most kick-a** ceremony we’ve ever thrown to honor our Broward College Seahawk graduates!” said Parra

BC students feel a series of mixed emotions after receiving news of them not being able to walk across the stage as expected. This spring graduation was supposed to be a vital moment in a student’s life, and, unfortunately, some may not be able to walk across the stage, however, just like a Seahawk, BC students will rise above this event and come out stronger in the end.

Mortar board and a graduation diploma
Photo courtesy of

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