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NMJC to hold virtual graduation on tonight

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Thirty years from now, New Mexico Junior College 2020 graduates will have the opportunity to tell their grandchildren about participating in the college’s first virtual graduation. The ceremony will be broadcast on the NMJC website and on Facebook Live tonight.

Kelvin Sharp, president of the college said administrators, teachers and staff are eager to honor the more than 260 students who, if not for COVID-19, would walk across the stage at the Lea County Event Center Friday night.

“We want to honor our students for their hard work and for their accomplishments at New Mexico Junior College,” Sharp said. “We’re putting together a historic graduation event that we hope all our graduates will participate in.”

Sharp said NMJC’s communications director, Susan Fine, is coordinating the event and is the expert on how it will happen beginning at 7 p.m. Friday.

Fine said she and other members of the staff are creating a video that will contain all the elements of a physical graduation.

“Dr. Sharp has already filmed his part of the graduation ceremony, where he pronounces the student graduates,” Fine said. “The names of the students and pictures of them in their caps and gowns will be called and the degree they’ve earned and whatever honors they earned. If we don’t have a picture of the student, a graphic of their diploma will be shown, along with the honors they earned.”

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Fine said she understands the students’ dismay about missing a physical graduation ceremony.

“But if they really want to walk across the stage, they can do that next year, with the class of 2021,” Fine said. “One of the good things about this virtual graduation is that it gives our online students the opportunity to participate in graduation. They’ve never been able to do that before.”

Sharp also said the virtual graduation gives online students a chance to be in the graduation ceremony.

“We have students all over the country, really all over the world, and this will help them feel a part of graduation,” Sharp said.

Fine said the college will mail diplomas to every graduate, along with a letter from Sharp and the tassel that would have been attached to their mortar boards.

“We’re hoping for a great participation,” Fine said. “And next year, they can participate in the 2021 ceremony if they want to. That will give them two graduation ceremonies.”

Dorothy N. Fowler can be reached at education@hobbsnews.com or froggyfowler@hotmail.com .

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