LINCROFT, NJ: Brookdale Community College’s 50th Graduation ceremony, held on July 30, 2020, was certainly memorable. The postponed in-person commencement adhered to the state’s face coverings and social distancing guidelines as graduates and their families remained in their vehicles most of the time.

“Brookdale certainly gleamed with pride and showed our steadfast commitment to student success,” said Yesenia Madas, associate vice president of student affairs at Brookdale Community College, about the ceremony.

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Graduates drove onto campus and were greeted by faculty, administration, police officers, and staff waving signs, cheering, and showing their congratulations. Graduates and their families drove to the parking lot across from the back entrance to the Collins Arena, the building that would have housed the commencement ceremonies in May if the ceremony was not postponed due to COVID-19, where the commencement stage was set up. Brookdale was able to individualize the graduation experience for each student with a personal chance to celebrate their accomplishment and share that moment with those who helped the most along the way.

Like every other year, graduates got to hear their name announced as they walked across the stage to receive their diploma as friends and family cheered for them. However, this year the arrival times of the graduates were scheduled so only one graduate to experience walking across the stage at a time. “It was intimate, full of emotion, and a true celebration of our graduates,” said Madas.

There were no speeches or crowds of people, as friends and family members who arrived with the graduate had to remain in their vehicle to watch their graduate cross the stage, but they cheered just as loud and were just as excited to celebrate the achievement.

While unlike any previous commencement, the spirit of celebration at this year’s graduation was certainly as strong. “Anyone who participated in the 2020 commencement will never forget how special it was,” Madas said. There were face masks and hand sanitizer, elbow bumps and social distancing along with the tears of joy and cheers of pride. Social distancing procedures had to be maintained, but the Brookdale community was so glad to get the chance to celebrate the accomplishments of the class of 2020 in person.