SBVC Students Ready For Virtual Commencement
The San Bernardino Valley College graduating class of 2020 will be long admired for their staying power and a good attitude, even in the hard times as they gear up for their virtual commencement.
Those that stayed the course through the struggle are now reaping their reward.
TaQuera Evans, 23, is one of them.
Next semester, she starts Cal State University, San Bernardino as a political science major.
She said right now, she’s not sure what to expect of the virtual commencement ceremony, but she guesses it might be like a giant Zoom with students waving at the camera as their names are called.
Students in her circle have worked hard over the years, and even though they won’t be sitting in the sun, or attending the rehearsal, she said everyone gets it.
“We won’t experience saying goodbye to those who helped us get to the finish line,” she said, but adds, “I totally understand. They’re giving us something. They could have PDF’d our diplomas.”
She said just being at SBVC made the worst of times into something bearable. Through the transition to total online classes, the campus was very accommodating, especially with Umoja Tumaini.
“Our counselors and Tumaini talked to us every day, made sure we were taking classes and tests, and taking our classes seriously as if we were still physically going every day,” she said.
Through her experience, Evans said she has learned much about the power of policy, and is pursuing a political science major toward a career as a civil rights attorney.
“There are too many injustices going on,” she said. “It’s as if we’re living in the 40’s. It’s really sickening to watch people getting shot down.”
Travis Love, who also tutors at San Bernardino Valley College with Umoja Tumaini, is an English major. He starts CSUSB as an English major in the fall, and wants teach at the high school level.
Love, 31, said he developed Tumaini Virtual Study to help students with academics, technology, and any other resources they needed during the past two months.
He said not walking for their diploma is a little disheartening, but he tries to keep the main point in perspective. He has completed one of his top priorities, and he’s ready for the cap and gown.
“I still feel accomplished, and I am celebrated for my achievement,” he said. “Just acknowledging where I’ve come from and all the hard work that I had to put in to get to this point is something that’s really symbolic of the whole graduation ceremony.”
Through recent weeks, he said SBVC staff has been supportive in helping students know that they are not alone. The campus hosts a drive-through pick up for the food pantry. They’ve distributed Chromebooks for students without computer access.
“I’m constantly getting emails to talk about the different ways that they’re supporting students,” he said. “They’ve been really communicative in terms of reaching out about letting us know what’s out there.”
Tumaini President Frederick Jones, 35, also graduates next week. He’s hearing that some students are experiencing a mixed bag of emotions.
Younger students who may not have had the right support before the pandemic hit had dropped their classes because they were intimidated by the technology. It has set them back another semester.
While older students like himself who returned to school seem more excited just because they’re completing their goals.
“The elder millennials have lived a bit longer and came back to school, they feel that as long as they get to commence and the celebration, they’re good.”
All graduates will end their SBVC academic graduation virtually, and like other higher education students will start their next semester virtually.
For Jones, the process is just the beginning. Even if graduation wasn’t online, he would still be thrilled about going to CSUSB.
He is looking forward to multiple graduations.
“I’ll make it up on the next round with the bachelors and the masters. We can definitely keep pushing until the wheels fall off,” he said.