Dallas College will have its first commencement ceremonies as a single college on June 24-26 at Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas. The ceremonies will be the first since the seven colleges of the former Dallas County Community College District became Dallas College.
In a virtual employee Town Hall meeting March 23, Chancellor Joe May said, “We’re planning to hold in-person this year, but the details have not been finalized.” Due to the pandemic, many people were unsure whether there would be graduation in person this year or if it would just be online.
Since the Town Hall, new details have been released regarding graduation dates. Dallas College will host seven in-person graduation ceremonies – one for each of the seven academic schools that comprise Dallas College.
Eligible students received an email with instructions on how to RSVP May 2 with a 10 a.m. deadline of May 4 on the Dallas College Graduation Website. Additional information on graduation qualifications can be found on the Dallas College Graduation website. Those with additional questions can email [email protected].
May said COVID-19 safety protocols, such as required masks and social distancing, will be enforced to ensure safety. May said the ceremonies will take place “assuming that we continue to get the great news we’re seeing as regarding a vaccination and number of cases.” There will also be a live stream of each ceremony for the people who do not feel comfortable attending.
Student Fabiana Andrade, Brookhaven Student Government Association special events coordinator, said: “I saw the online graduation last year, and honestly, I didn’t want that. I feel like we worked too hard to celebrate like that.”
Andrade said online college was very rough for her. She said most of her college experience was online, and she was upset that she did not get to enjoy campus life. Andrade started joining clubs during her second semester at Brookhaven Campus. “I joined two clubs, but I think being a part of SGA was my favorite part of college,” she said. Andrade plans to continue with her education after she graduates but plans on changing her major.
Gabriel Medina, Brookhaven SGA president, said online school did not help his motivation despite having a more flexible schedule. Medina said he is excited to have the camaraderie of graduating with peers. “I’ve met so many good people at Dallas College,” he said. “I’ve met hundreds through SGA, and they’re just really fun to be around.”
Medina said he is feeling good about the future but is unsure of what to expect. “I think definitely graduating is a good start, but it’s really hard with the condition the world is in to know what’s going to happen next,” he said. Medina plans to transfer to Texas State University after he graduates, and wants to work for a government agency at some point. “I think where I go afterward depends on the connections I make at Texas State,” he said.
Valeria Chaurero, SGA treasurer, said she feels good about the decision to hold graduation in person. “I think regulations of coronavirus should still be there, but at least we can invite our friends and family,” she said.
Chaurero said she hated online school. “I have to teach myself everything, and it’s horrible,” she said. “My GPA has dropped because of it.” Chaurero came to Dallas College in 2018. “It was pretty lonely, but I loved attending events. It really helped me socialize before the pandemic hit,” she said. Chaurero plans on transferring to University of Texas Arlington after she graduates.