Cerritos celebrates graduating Class of 2021


Courtesy of Cerritos College

Cerritos College past graduation ceremonies have always been well attended. Students look forward to marking the achievements with a ceremony.

Jacqueline Cochran, News Editor

“As students entered an online format, in my area, our biggest challenge was how we provide an experience where the student still felt engaged while keeping them separate.

“In several areas we may have had low student involvement but we had much higher student commitment,” said Elizabeth Miller, Ed.D and Dean of Student Services.

Committed students who resiliently pushed through the difficulties of pandemic learning will drive-thru campus to receive their degrees for the CARmencement, the school’s safe alternative to an in-person graduation, held on Friday, May 28 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

“There are still many restrictions that prevent us from having a regular graduation in the stadium with 10,000 plus people. There are some colleges that are doing graduations in person but they are limiting guests to about 2 persons per student.

“We did not want to do that. So this way you can invite as many family members that can legally fit in your vehicle,” said Miller.

The CARmencement drive-thru will be divided by degrees and certificate type. The graduates that will receive degrees and certificates in Business, SEM, Kinesiology, Health Occupations and Technology can join the drive-thru caravan at the time slot that they choose between 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Students who are receiving degrees in Liberal Arts, Humanities, Social Studies and Fine Arts will have an opportunity to drive-through between 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.

The total number of graduates is approximately 2800 students. These accomplished people will receive a combination of about 5,000 degrees and certificates.

Before the pandemic graduations at Cerritos College were well attended. Students look forward to marking their achievement with a ceremony.
Before the pandemic graduations at Cerritos College were well attended. Students look forward to marking their achievement with a ceremony. Photo credit: Cerritos College

“We have one student who will receive a combination of 12 degrees and certificates at one time. There are many other students who will receive like 5 at one time but 12 is the most this year,” said Miller.

The drive-thru begins at Lot 10 and the parade route will continue through the campus. A check-in booth will be set up near Lot 5. The biggest highlight of the drive-thru will be the blue carpet zone.

The blue carpet zone is where the graduate will receive a diploma cover and get to hear their name read out loud to commemorate the achievement.

“Dr. Fierro and some of the Board of Trustees will be located in the blue carpet zone reading the names. The students will also have a chance to see some of the faculty, professors and advisors of their programs.

Some college swag will also be given to each graduate including a decal, key chain and sticker,” said Miller.

Miller indicated that this graduation will be nothing short of a feat to execute. “We are fortunate enough to have over 200 volunteers that will assist on that day to hopefully ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible.

At the time this article was written, Student Affairs had received over 600 RSVP’s from this graduating class.

“We are urging students to strictly adhere to their assigned time. We want to eliminate students [having] to wait a long time. If students show up to the drive-thru caravan at their assigned time there should be a steady flow and no back-up,” she said.

While interacting with all college personnel, students are encouraged to wear their masks. “We are so excited to see the students experience the fulfillment of their goal. But we still have to remember to be mindful of everyone’s safety,“ Miller cautioned.

The parade route will end in Lot One, where a designated photo area will be set-up. Students will be able to park their vehicles and line up to have professional graduation day’s photos taken alone or with their family and friends. “We are hoping this will be an enjoyable experience for the graduates,” she said.

Other graduation events include an online virtual ceremony and graduate gallery. This online ceremony will premiere on Thursday, May 27 at 5:30 p.m. on the Cerritos College YouTube channel.

During the virtual ceremony, the winner of the grad cap contest will be announced. The college received approximately 20 decorated cap entries.

Talon Marks congratulates the graduating Class of 2021!