Pandemic Doesn't Stifle Enthusiasm for Graduation at Cerro Coso

Graduate Megan Weeks receives a cap and tassel from William Blood the Director of Admissions and Records during the Drive-Thru Regalia pick-up and photo opportunity.

The format might be different, but their enthusiasm for celebration has never been more inspired as Cerro Coso held a drive-thru Regalia Pick-Up and Professional Photo Opportunity for graduates on two separate days last week. In addition to graduates from the local campus, graduates from Tehachapi, California City, and the Kern River traveled to participate in the event.

Necessary precautions were taken to keep graduates in their vehicles until their time for photos for everyone's safety.

“Our students have shown extraordinary resilience,” said Cerro Coso Vice President Heather Ostash. “They have been through so much, especially this year.  For many of them the earthquakes of last summer, followed by the transition to fully online due to COVID-19 this spring. Graduating during a pandemic took a lot away from them, but they hung in there, they worked hard, they did great, and now they are graduating”

The photo opportunity was designed to capture the excitement and pride these students and their families have in their achievements.  Four separate backdrops were provided for professional graduation photographs. “In some ways it was a little more personal because their families were allowed to join them in the photos,” said Ostash.

“Celebrating the accomplishments of our students is something we look forward to every year,” added Cerro Coso President Jill Board. “Adaptation and perseverance is what college life is all about. It is already an anxious time for graduates on the threshold of the real world, and COVID-19 has added additional uncertainties. Life is affected by countless unknown events. I'm confident these students are well prepared to accept and adapt to the challenges they will encounter in life. They have already shown great flexibility in the face of adversity, determination in the midst of chaos, and creativity in making their dreams come true. Our future is in great hands.”

Cerro Coso is planning to stream a Virtual Commencement on Saturday, June 13, 2020. Further information on a virtual Student Awards Ceremony and other events coming soon.

Photo 1 caption: Graduate Megan Weeks receives a cap and tassel from William Bloom, the Director of Admissions and Records, during the Drive-Thru Regalia pick-up and photo opportunity.

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Photo 2 caption: Event coordinator Katie Bachman and Pam Campbell Director of Access Programs sign-graduates in and provide refreshments while waiting their turn for pictures.

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Photo 3 Caption: A true graduation celebration for Cerro Coso student Zulema Castillo (center) and her family. L to r: brother Jimmy Castillo graduated from Burroughs earlier in the morning, Rachel Ramos, Zulema, and mother Felipa Castillo. Daughter Luna Nuno (front) graduated from Kindergarten and son Joseph Nuno, Zulema's older brother (not pictured), also graduated this spring with his bachelor's degree.