With adversity comes strength: Celebrating graduates in the time of COVID

With adversity comes strength: Celebrating graduates in the time of COVID
Posted on 10/13/2021
This is the image for the news article titled With adversity comes strength: Celebrating graduates in the time of COVIDText originally posted August 16, 2021: Virtual graduation ceremonies. Social distance parades. Limitations on the number of guests allowed. Small parties. No parties. Those who have graduated during the pandemic have likely experienced dimmed versions of what would once have been bright celebrations of academic achievement. Protecting communities from COVID-19 has meant drastically changing how celebrations occur.

But that doesn’t mean we don’t celebrate.

The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and Salt River Schools offices of School and Community Relations and Higher Education would like to recognize all SRPMIC high school and postsecondary graduates from the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021. This includes any graduation from high school, GED, trade school, or college/university occurring from July 2019 through June 2021.

The graduation recognition event will be held virtually this year; it will premiere at noon on Thursday, Oct. 14, on the Salt River Schools YouTube and Facebook pages. This year's theme is "With Adversity Comes Strength."

Watch the video here:



Pre-pandemic, the graduation recognition event took place annually, in person, and with a fancy dinner and entertainment, said Rebeca Ronstadt-Contreras, the Higher Education program administrator. The recognition program for graduates of the Class of 2020 was postponed with the hope it could be held in person as a joint endeavor with the Class of 2021. With the pandemic continuing to threaten the health and wellness of vulnerable populations, postponing the program and hosting it as a virtual event for both graduate classes was the right thing to do, Ronstadt-Contreras said.

“Despite the venue, this ceremony represents how each and every single one of our students demonstrated resilience during a time of unpredictability. It demonstrates motivation during a time when the world they knew went from normal to strange,” Ronstadt-Contreras said. “This ceremony showcases the inspiration our students drew from during times of uncertainty and despair only to rise up and accomplish the dreams and goals only strong students can when faced with adversity.”

The virtual program will include a reading of graduate names; students who want to be recognized must submit an online application, which requires proof of SRPMIC enrollment and a copy of the diploma or final transcript. Click here to download the application (or scroll down to where it's posted below).

A small token of appreciation will be gifted to all graduates who participate in this virtual celebration. The deadline to apply is Wednesday, Oct. 6. If you missed this deadline, you can still submit an application and we'll send you a gift and a graduation certificate upon approval.

Because of the large gap from when students might have graduated until now, Higher Education and School and Community Relations staff are asking Community members to help them spread the message and let graduates know to sign up online.

“There are well over 200 graduates eligible to participate in the ceremony,” said Miranda Johnson-Moya, program manager for School and Community Relations, which partners with Higher Education to host the graduation recognition event. “In order for us to maintain important safety standards, a virtual event is the best option at this time. And we are excited to celebrate our graduates and have a great program planned.”

Email applications and required documents to GradRecognition@saltriverschools.org or call School and Community Relations at 480-362-2534.

Click here to download the application.
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