Schools transition to virtual commencement ceremonies

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – Commencement ceremonies for schools and colleges across the county will look a little different this spring, including the ceremony for graduating sophomores at Northeast Community College in Norfolk.

Like most students, Colton Kastning couldn’t wait to walk the stage at graduation. Being a ‘non-traditional’ student at 28, receiving his diploma was all the more special.

“I told myself eventually I would go back to school and finish my degree, and it’s taken me a little longer than most probably. So I was really looking forward to walking the stage and receiving my diploma,” Kastning said.

“It must look much different than years past to ensure the health and safety of you and your families and to abide by social distancing expectations during the pandemic,” Northeast’s President Leah Barrett said in a video posted on the school’s website.

She said they are pre-recording speeches from students and staff and asking graduates to submit photos to go along with their names being called.

“It’s amazing to be there with your family and friends and have the cheering and the whistles. It’s hard to replace. We’re not necessarily trying to replace that what we’re trying to do is create something different. Something that recognizes the time that were in,” Barrett said.

Kastning said he’s disappointed he wont be able to walk across stage, but he understands the circumstances and he’s grateful to still be graduating.

“I’m just trying to look at it as a positive perspective as I’m still getting my diploma. I still have a job. I’m still going to pursue to my goals and dreams. So this is just a little bump in the road as compared to the big picture,” Kastning said.

The college is also allowing all graduates from 2019 and 2020 who were supposed to partcipate in this years spring commencement to walk in any future ceremony of their choice.

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