(Astoria, OR) When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, college students all over the country were sent home to finish the school year remotely, and it soon became clear that graduation ceremonies would be canceled for the Spring. For one local family, the lost moment of wearing a cap and gown and walking across the stage was especially poignant.
Meet the Johnson family. Kim and two of her children, Ben and Stormy, were all anticipating walking across the stage at the 2020 Clatsop Community College (CCC) commencement ceremony this year, especially since none of them had participated in a graduation before.
Kim, who had graduated early from her high school experience, did not walk in her graduation and then years later, after raising her family and homeschooling her children, finally felt the time was right to start college classes. Ben delayed his start to college for a year after completing his high school requirements and incidentally started college at the same time as his sister, Stormy, who had just completed her high school education. Since both were homeschooled, neither walked in a high school graduation ceremony. “We were all in a position in life where we had the opportunity to start college right then, so we did”, Ben commented. “There was actually a point where there were four of us all in college until my oldest son, graduated from CCC last year,” Kim added with a laugh, “My husband got the short end of the stick when it came to dinner because the rest of us could legitimately say ‘sorry, we have homework’.”
At thesmall community college, the family was bound to run into one another and end up in some of the same classes. Kim and Ben were both on business tracks and were able to share textbooks for some classes and were even in an online class together. “We’re not sure if the instructor knew we were related. We were careful not to respond to each other’s posts in that class,” said Kim.
Stormy and Ben hinted at some friendly rivalries, but mostly they talk about how all of them could help each other. “Each of us had academic areas we were more comfortable with so we could help each other out,” stated Ben. “We would peer review each other’s papers, always.”
As the mother in this situation, Kim was worried about stepping on her kids’ college experience, but expressed how fun it was to experience college with them. “I tried really hard not to crash their circles of friends. One of us would be leaving a class and another one would be waiting to go into the next class in the room. It was just fun.”
The Johnson family, along with all of the other CCC students, had to quickly adjust to virtual classrooms to complete their academic year as the 2020 winter term finished up and the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States. By the start of spring term, CCC campuses closed its doors to on-campus classes and activities and went strictly to online class offerings.
For Kim, the transition to online was fine because it made it easy to coordinate with her work schedule. Ben felt fortunate that he stayed employed during the pandemic, and like his mother, online classes allowed him flexibility to coordinate with classes. “Some classes were actually easier for me in the online format like accounting, but others have proved more challenging. I’m not a science person, so I’ve struggled with that class online this term,” he stated. “My learning style is to see it, touch it, feel it, tinker with it and you just don’t get that with online.”
Stormy had been a math tutor and note taker in Calculus class on campus. When the college moved to online classes she lost both jobs as well as a 3-month volunteer opportunity she was just starting at the public library in the kid’s science program. “These were skills and experiences I was building for school and jobs. COVID-19 lost me what I had been planning to put on my resume,” Stormy explained.
The one big shared feeling of loss to their college experience is the loss of the graduation ceremony. “We looked forward to graduation the whole time we in school. We were all going to have our first-time ceremony together for all of us. It was a big deal.” Kim stated.
For now, the Johnsons are excited to get their photos taken in their caps and gowns together, but are holding off on any celebrations until extended family would be able to gather. Clatsop Community College is hoping to be able to hold a graduation ceremony for the 2020 graduates later this year that would allow the graduates to walk across stage to give them that ceremonial moment of completion for their achievements.
Kim Johnson has earned a Professional Business Certificate that she plans to use to boost her job potential in the area. Ben is graduating with an Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer degree and will be continuing his education online with Eastern Oregon University to get his Organizational Management bachelor’s degree. Stormy plans to go to Oregon State University to pursue a double bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and Education. Stormy was also named Student Marshal for the 2020 CCC graduation and will have the honor of speaking at the 2020 graduation once rescheduled.
June 12th, 2020, the original date for CCC graduation festivities, will be acknowledged by the college virtually with messages from the president and the faculty and student marshals. The Astoria Column will also shine green that day in honor of the school colors.
Non-Discrimination Declaration It is the policy of Clatsop Community College that there will be no discrimination or harassment on the grounds of race, color, sex, gender, marital status, religion, national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression or disability in any educational programs, activities, or employment. Questions or complaints should be directed to Naomi Garbutt, Affirmative Action/Gender Equity (Title IX) Officer, Towler Hall, Suite 110, firstname.lastname@example.org 503-338-2450; TDD 503-338-2468. The Title II/Section 504 Coordinator, Mallory Vollner, is located in Towler Hall, Suite 104A, email@example.com 503-338-2474.
Accommodations Persons having questions about or a request for special needs and accommodation should contact JoAnn Zahn, Vice President of Finance and Operations, at Clatsop Community College, 1651 Lexington Avenue, Astoria, Oregon 97103, Library Suite 110, firstname.lastname@example.org Phone (503) 338-2421 or TDD (503) 338-2468. Please send special needs and accommodations requests here. Contact should be made at least two business days in advance of the event.
Declaración de no-discriminación Es la política de Clatsop Community College que no habrá ningún tipo de discriminación o acoso por razón de raza, color, sexo, género, estado civil, religión, origen nacional, edad, orientación sexual, identidad de género o expresióno discapacidad en los programas educativos, actividades o en la contratación. Preguntas o quejas deben ser dirigidas al Naomi Garbutt, Oficial de Acción Afirmativa / Título IX localizado en Towler Hall número 110, email@example.com(link sends e-mail) número de teléfono 503-338-2450, TDD (discapacidad auditiva) 503-338-2468. El Coordinador de la Titulo II/Sección 504, Mallory Vollner, se encuentra en Towler Hall, numero 104A, firstname.lastname@example.org número de teléfono 503-338-2474. Para ADA y otras peticiones de servicios llame al 503-338-2474 o para TDD (discapacidad auditiva) 503-338-2468.
Ayuda a personas discapacitadas En cuanto a las personas discapacitadas, se les pide que se comuniquen con JoAnn Zahn, la Vice Presidente de Finanzas y Operaciones en Clatsop Community College, 1651 Lexington Avenue, Astoria, Oregon 97103, Library Suite 110, email@example.com número teléfonico (503) 338-2421 o a TDD (503) 338-2468. Haga el favor de notificar a la oficina para que se le pueda proporcionar apoyo. La comunicación debe tomar lugar por lo menos dos días de trabajo antes del evento por el cual se requiera tal ayuda. Para más información, vea la página Web de Clatsop Community College bajo Información en Español.