The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Students cope with canceled graduation

April 29, 2020 |  Muhammad Ashraf, Luceli Lopez, Justin Smith, Cale Sherrod, and Rose Pemberton. | Contributors

As the pandemic continues, TCC students, just like all others across the nation, will not have the opportunity to walk the stage when they graduate this upcoming May.

A student spent more than three decades to get her degree. Now, she can’t walk the stage.

Soon after she opened the email from TCC that said graduation was canceled because of the novel coronavirus, tears rolled down her cheeks.

“It took the wind out of me. It was a lot,” TR student Venezia McCain said.

She first enrolled in classes at TCC in 1989. McCain, 49 years old, has been planning to walk the stage for her Associate of Arts degree ever since.

“God, as far as the associates [degree], it has been the biggest thing for me,” she said.

She had a one-year-old baby by the time she enrolled. She would take a class here and there but sometimes have to stop to work three jobs and take care of her children. She never gave up.

“I don’t care how long it takes me, I am going to get a college degree,” she said.

Her last semester threw her another hurdle. Fleeing an abusive marriage, she had to move mid-semester. Then her teen daughter was hospitalized, suffering from a cytokine storm, an immune system’s overreaction to fighting off the COVID-19 infection.

Still, she wanted badly to show her teen and adult daughters that she could do this, that she could get her associate’s degree no matter how long it took her.

“I am just going to show them, I am going to get this done, I am going to walk the stage,” she said.

Her eldest daughter, her daughter’s husband and her granddaughter were going to drive down from Cannon Air Force Base in Clovis, N.M., she said.

“I just pray there will be a ceremony after the COVID crisis calms a bit more,” McCain said.

Many students like McCain had family coming into town, parties planned and internships to explore, but plans keep changing.

South student Kalyn Thomas said her mother never finished college, so it was a big deal to her that she celebrated her first degree in higher education before she transferred to a four-year college.

“I originally had plans of having my whole family come to my community college graduation just like they did for my high school graduation,” Thomas said.

NE student Courtney McDonald was going to celebrate graduation with her friends from classes at TCC. She said she will probably host a Zoom party instead.

“It’s upsetting that I cannot go through with my original plans, but it’s more important to keep everyone safe,” McDonald said.

And students like NW student Kathryn McKenzie realize that life is going to go on. Some are even grateful.

“Overall, I’m excited about this year and grateful with what God has blessed me with and what He holds for me in the future,” McKenzie said.

Donate to The Collegian

Your donation will support the student journalists of Tarrant County College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Collegian