SANFORD, Fla. - Seminole State College hosted a drive-thru graduation for their students on Wednesday. It’s the first in-person ceremony they’ve had since December of 2019.
With precautions in place, graduates donned their caps and gowns and walked one at a time as their name was read. Their friends and family packed into cars to drive past the outdoor stage in the parking lot. Afterward, there were formal picture opportunities at a social distance.
“I graduated with an associate of arts for my biology degree and after I’m done transferring this I’ll be going to UCF to finish my biology degree to become a veterinarian,” Selena Frederick said.
Of the more than 5,700 graduates from Spring, Summer, and Fall, only about 600 could attend.“I’m glad they did this,” Frederick said. “It’s really special. I really enjoyed it.”
It’s been a challenging year all around due to the pandemic from unemployment to online learning. Seminole State College officials said their summer semester saw a seven percent surge in enrollment.
“I think some people came back to us for rescaling or upscaling if they were facing unemployment or uncertainty,” Georgia Lorenz, president of Seminole State College said. “And right now we’re offering rapid skills credentials that people can complete in a semester or a year to get into a more stable occupation or just make a career change during these uncertain times.”
But then the fall semester saw a decline.
“One thing that we’re noticing is 2020 high school graduates did not necessarily enroll immediately in college at the same rates that they did before,” Lorenz said.
Despite some enrollment uncertainty, they said their career programs are thriving.
“We’re had strong enrollment in our engineering, design and construction programs, health sciences and IT is also a really strong interest right now that everything is going remote and cyber security is a big concern,” Lorenz said.
Students said while the new way of learning can be challenging, the end result is worth it.“Stay focused,” Frederick said. “Do the best you can. If it doesn’t work out you can always try again. It’s not the end of the world.”
Tune in to FOX 35 Orlando for the latest coronavirus news.