Porterville College wrapped up the final day of its drive-thru graduation ceremonies on Thursday morning. Wednesday and Thursday’s ceremonies were for the more than 650 graduates collected 876 degrees.
Just as the sun began to warm the morning on Thursday, the long line of cars carrying PC’s graduates were allowed to enter into the Jamison Stadium parking lot to kick off the final day of PC’s graduations for the spring Class of 2020.
With PC staff and administration lining the drive-thru route in the parking lot, waving signs and yelling out their congratulations to each graduate, the graduation ceremony was the perfect fit to make each student feel special, despite not being able to have a traditional graduation due to COVID-19.
PC President Dr. Claudia Habib was in attendance, and as cheery as ever. Even with her mask on, the joy on her face was undeniable. Habib celebrated each student individually as they drove up, snapping photos with her phone and cheering louder than most of the other staff in attendance.
Thursday’s drive-thru graduation ceremony was strictly for the PC students whose last names began with M through Z. While Wednesday’s ceremony saw more than 200 students drive through, Thursday carried the remainder of the graduates.
“I’m just really proud of myself,” said one graduate. “It was a lot of stress and — but I did it!”
She wasn’t the only one who was clearly proud on Thursday. Many of the graduates rolled up with their whole families, who shouted, cheered and honked in pride for their respective college graduate. Not all of the graduates arrived with a group though. Some of the graduates chose to go through the ceremony alone, riding in their cars solitarily.
Beginning toward the entrance of Jamison Stadium, each vehicle was stopped so the graduate could give their name. Once confirmed, a slip of paper announcing the student was slipped under the windshield. As cars pulled forward, cheers rang out for the PC staff who lined the route. As the students rolled by “Congratulations,” “You did it,” and “We’re so proud of you” could be heard throughout the entire ceremony.
A stop sign let each graduate know when their vehicle, or the vehicle they were carried to the ceremony in, needed to come to a standstill. Once the vehicle was stopped, each graduate was handed a bag that held all of their graduation items, including the degrees they worked hard for. At no time during the ceremony was any student asked to leave their vehicles to walk in the sun.
As each graduate neared the end of the graduation route, a group of PC professors who staged themselves towards the end of the drive-thru gave a final good-bye wave as the spring Class of 2020 drove away.