Cerro Coso Celebrates Class of 2021 In Person

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It was a unique scaled-down celebration, but no less important for Cerro Coso Community College's Class of 2021. 

“Celebrating the accomplishments of our students is one of our favorite times of the year, and the COVID-19 pandemic isn't going to take that away from us,” stated President Sean Hancock to the graduates who marched across the stage one at a time in groups of 10 on Friday, May 14, 2021. 

Fully masked, their names were called, photos taken, and degrees conferred in front of a small group of family and friends. They then proceeded out the door to the courtyard where they were met with shouts of congratulations, more photos, cupcakes, and reunited with friends and family.  Balancing safety and tradition, speeches were aired over the big screens in waiting areas throughout the building, and the event livestreamed on the college website. “It was an all day affair, but we were excited to be able to provide that for our graduates.”

A total of 426 graduates earned 824 awards. This includes: 363 Associate of Art Degrees, 74 Associate of Science Degrees, 163 Associate Degrees for Transfer, and 222 Certificates of Achievement.

Graduates came from 7 states and 2 from other countries. 

Among the graduates were 48 Phi Theta Kappa members of the international honor society for community colleges and 7 from the college's Honors Program.

The college also recognized the following 14 CCCC Foundation Presidents Award recipients for maintaining a cumulative 4.0 GPA to meet all graduation requirements: Athena Baca, Madalyn Batchelder, Makenna Batchelder, Catherine Gacho, Emily Hunsaker, Samantha Jones, Velma Kinney, Makenna Kumlue, Janis  Kunz, Jennifer Kunz, Isla Lackey, Nicole Lemons, Allison Vankirk, and Julissa Villalobos. 

Baseball player Michael Doerr was the recipient of the Cerro Coso Community College Foundation, Inc. Athletic Academic Achievement Award for the athlete with the highest GPA. 

“Obtaining a college degree or certificate is no easy feat,” said Dr. Hancock.  “Students face challenges in any number of ways: financially, academically, personally, socially, intellectually, and physically.  Now throw a pandemic on top of all that?  It was a tumultuous year, but you have proven adaptable and resilient.  You persisted in the face of adversity - you did it. Thank you for making Cerro Coso Community College a partner in your education.”

“I also want to thank our employees for their commitment, creativity, and high standards that have allowed our students to thrive in unsetting times.  Accepting the challenges present with grace and professionalism.  Thank you for your hard work and dedication in serving the needs of our students,” he concluded. 

An outdoor drive-in ceremony was held the week before at the Bishop Fair Grounds to honor students graduating from the Eastern Sierra College Center in Bishop and Mammoth Lakes.

All of the graduates were guided by Cerro Coso's mission to improve the life of every student it serves, and are well prepared to thrive, contribute to, and lead in a global society.  May their graduation be the beginning of a future filled with success and happiness. 

CDC, national, state, county, and local guidelines were followed during the events.