Deadline approaches for landmark centennial commencement ceremony

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Riverside City College’s 100th graduation ceremony to be a unique experience 

By Hector M. Zermeno

Graduation is a rite of passage for college students that marks the beginning of a new stage in their life. For Riverside City College students the centennial commencement promises to be a memorable occasion.

“This year is all about the centennial,” said Dawn Valencia, dean of enrollment services. “Our president has looked to us to have our commencement that serves as the capstone event to our century celebration.”

The deadline to apply for graduation is April 1. Students interested in taking part in commencement must submit their degree or certificate application by the deadline.

Graduation applications are available for free in the Students menu of WebAdvisor by clicking on the Degree or Certificate Application links under the Academic Profile tab.

Students must meet certain requirements in order to be eligible for graduation including 45 units and general education requirements. The requirements are detailed in the Admissions & Records page of the RCC website.

Admissions & Records will send out notifications after May 1 to approved students with information regarding rehearsals and the purchase of academic regalia.

The graduation ceremony is scheduled for June 9 at 6 p.m. at Wheelock Field.

RCC expects to have at least double or triple the participation from previous years for this commencement, according to Valencia. That will bring the total number of students from approximately 1,400 to 2,100.

The amount of graduating students is estimated to bring around 5,500 people to the ceremony. RCC plans to arrange enough sitting space to accommodate the amount of people in attendance.

RCC also plans to have a Jumbotron at the ceremony to provide everyone in attendance with a view of the stage. An American Sign Language interpreter will appear in a portion of the screen for the hearing impaired.

Students can expect to be in for a treat for this commencement.

“It’s just going to be a special event,” Valencia said. “This is truly a once in a lifetime commencement and I think the Class of 2016 is very fortunate.”

RCC President Wolde-Ab Isaac is planning to have a high-profile keynote speaker for commencement. The name will be announced when the speaker confirms their appearance.

The academic regalia for the ceremony will include commemorative sashes, tassels and medallions for the centennial celebration. And as a gift to the graduating students, the Associated Students of RCC will cover the expense of the sashes.

The expense of the cap and gown is predicted to be around $55, whereas in other years the cost was $82.

Students can also expect to receive a certificate holder and a view book with “history, trivia, facts and figures” about RCC, according to Valencia.

A graduating student will get the opportunity to deliver a speech at commencement. Alpha Gamma Sigma Honor Society will be hosting a speech competition to select the student.

The competition is scheduled for April 5 in Digital Library room 409 at 11 a.m.
Students must be graduating in June and have RCC as their home campus in order to participate in the competition.

Contestants must prepare a five minute speech to deliver on the day of the competition.

The speeches will be judged by a panel which includes Estrella M. Romero, Communication Studies instructor , Cecilia Alvarado, interim vice president of Student Services, and Greg Ferrer, director of the Disabled Students Programs and Services.

The panel will be judging the content, prose and organization of the speech among other things. The speech should focus on the theme of the centennial celebration to “capture the essence and success of the college over the last one hundred years,” Romero said.

The judges advise students to prepare and rehearse in order to have a successful speech.

“It’s always an honor to assist with the graduation speaker because this is my field of study,” Romero said.

Students who are interested in competing for a chance to speak at commencement must complete and submit an application to the Student Services Office by April 1 at 12 p.m. The application is available at Student Services or by contacting Alpha Gamma Sigma.

Only eight students have turned in their application as of March 30, according to Shauna Quake, president of AGS.

She also encourages students to participate in the speech competition.

“Just go in there, have confidence… and give it all you got,” Quake said.

The complete set of rules is found on each application.

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