Pandemic graduates to attend in-person ceremony


The pandemic has changed many college students’ graduating experience. Instead of walking across the stage, students streamed graduation ceremonies off their phones and tablets.

 A few days later, their diploma or degree arrived in the mail.

“Like, you don’t get to say goodbye to your classmates,” said Josh Roopchand, a 2020 Financial Services graduate from Red River College Polytechnic.

With many pandemic restrictions lifted, RRC Polytech announced it will resume in-person convocations for students graduating this year and offer convocation “do-overs” for pandemic graduates who wish to attend.

Roopchand said he attended a convocation ceremony for some of his classmates in 2019—the year before his graduation. He said he missed that experience for his graduation. 

“You don’t get that sort of a wrap-up feeling. Kind of just felt like you were just watching another presentation on the computer,” Roopchand said.

The college reached out to students who had graduated without an in-person convocation. Ninety per cent of those contacted said they would be interested in a do-over, said Connor Lloyd, RRC Polytech director of college and public relations. 

Students wave at RRC Polytech Exchange District Campus on April 6./NATHAN RICHISON

Ahmed Arar Alam, an international student and Administrative Assistant grad, was one of the students contacted. He said he is looking forward to finally meeting some of his classmates and instructors in person.

The online convocation was not the end of school he was looking for, said Alam.

“Didn’t really feel good because you know, like, doing a course for eight months and then not getting any recognition or anything kind of feels weird,” Alam said.

In-person convocations are scheduled for June 13 and 14, but prospective graduates still have the option to attend their convocation via livestream.

Pandemic grads will have the opportunity to sign up and walk across the stage in front of their friends and family on June 22.

Depending on demand, the college may hold additional do-over convocations for those who can’t make it out to the first event, said Lloyd.

Before the pandemic, only about 30 to 40 per cent of students would show up for convocation, Lloyd said.