In-Person Commencement Planned for Earlham 2021 Graduation

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In-Person Commencement Planned for Earlham 2021 Graduation

By Andrew Adie, ’24

Commencement for graduating seniors will occur on May 22, 2021. It is supposed to occur in person. However, many details of the proceedings are somewhat up in the air. 

Yazid Barhoush, ‘21, a member of the student committee that is planning graduation, explains hammering out all the details has been difficult for a variety of reasons, two of which are time constraints and communication difficulty with administration. 

“We meet weekly with the registrar’s office, and the registrar’s office works as a channel between us and cabinet,” he explains. “I wish that we were able to kind of communicate our thoughts straight to the people who make the decisions.” About this challenge, he says “I just want to tell all my classmates to hang in tight, we’re trying our best.”

As permitted by the Phase 1 opening described in an email sent by Anne Houtman on March 16, graduates are allowed to invite two guests of their choosing, and the ceremony will occur outside. 

Evan Feldberg-Bannatyne, ‘21, says, “I think that in-person component is nice and given how well we’re doing right now in Wayne County, at the school, it makes sense for us, I think, for at least seniors to be able to walk.” 

Another senior, Sam Syndrowski, ‘21, agrees, saying, “I know that our school takes our COVID policies very seriously, so I am not worried about an in-person ceremony. I am looking forward to the chance of having my parents here, too!”

The ceremony will be live-streamed as well for people who cannot make the ceremony due to distance or concern. Barhoush says, “As an international student, my parents clearly can’t make it, them being able to see it virtually, that’s going to be nice.”

Speaking about the lack of ceremony due to COVID last year, Feldberg-Bennatyne says, “I felt like I didn’t get closure in a lot of the relationships that I had with that senior class and with other people who have gone remote for this year.” 

Feldberg-Bannatyne continues, “a big thing that I’m hoping this ceremony can offer us– and I think I’m using it as an indicator of the fact that we will be on campus throughout the remainder of the spring semester–is a chance to be with people you care about and love and value, and be able to prepare for that, and get that closure within those relationships.” 

Syndrowski, meanwhile, says, “One thing I am looking to get out of graduation is just the satisfaction that I did it. I can’t wait for the weight on my shoulders to lift.”

Feldberg-Bannatyne asks that students are “continuing to be responsible when it comes to COVID safety” as to avoid “an explosion of cases on campus and all get sent home or have this commencement in-person factor be cancelled.”

Commencement itself, though, is not the only upcoming ceremony. Barhoush explains, “The baccalaureate service is kind of when students get the chance to like, come to the stage and talk, and like, students say their words, and then faculty get picked to kind of like say stuff and it’s basically just students and faculty reflect on their journey.” 

Barhoush explains that while commencement is going to be in-person, it is possible the baccalaureate will be virtual.

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