Students and faculty prepare for graduation

As the spring semester comes to an end, faculty members throughout the Pierce College campus must begin getting ready for the commencement ceremony that will celebrate the students who have earned certificates or degrees.


The graduation ceremony will be held at Rocky Young Park June 6 at 6 p.m. Admission to the event is free, and no cars parked in Parking Lot 7 will be fined.


Any student who has had their petition for graduation approved will be able to participate in the commencement ceremony.


Faculty members began meeting back in February in preparation for this day, David Follosco, dean of Student Services, said.


“At this point, we’re finalizing everything,” he said. “We’re going to have another meeting in a couple of weeks.”


But Follosco also believes that, aside from the planning, most of the preparation for the graduation ceremony occurs last minute.


It isn’t until about a week before the ceremony that members of the graduation committee hang up banners congratulating graduates, gardeners begin working on floral arrangements, and the rental company delivers the chairs for guests and sets up the stage for the graduates to cross.


Despite the banners and other signs, several students, like Francisco Maza, 20, are unaware of the upcoming event.


“I would [go],” Maza said. “You just don’t hear much about it. I’m going on vacation right after my semester is over anyway.”


Much like Maza, Matt Garcia, 35, a student at Pierce with an undecided major, had not heard about the ceremony.


“I can’t go,” he said. “I have other schedules.”


On the other hand, other Pierce students and students from the high school outreach programs are excited to be participating in the event. So far, several of these students have volunteered to be ushers.


Currently, Follosco is preparing these students to help escort guests at the ceremony.


“We go through a walkthrough with them to make sure they know what they’re doing,” he said.


According to Follosco, the ceremony will begin with opening remarks from Congressman Brad Sherman.


Zev Yaroslavsky, Los Angeles County Supervisor, will serve as the keynote speaker.


“He’s going to give a keynote speech about motivating our graduates to continue on,” Follosco said.


To make sure that the procession runs smoothly, Doreen Clay, marketing executive at Pierce College, has made sure that the names of graduating students and their degrees or certificates are available to the audience.


“I do the commencement brochure,” Clay said. “Getting [it] executed and printed.”


Richard Follett, the master of ceremonies for previous commencement ceremonies, will be announcing the graduates during the procession yet again.


“I don’t get nervous,” Follet said. “It’s fun. It’s wonderful. It’s an honor. I’ve been the emcee for the last several years. I may do it one more, [but] I also think it’s time for a woman to take over.”


During the event, both students and participating faculty members will be dressed in caps and gowns. Most students will wear the traditional black gowns; however, nursing students participating in the commencement ceremony will be dressed in white.


The ceremony will be followed by a reception with cake, punch and coffee, Follosco said.


Students employed by the Freudian Sip will be utilized for the reception. These students will help serve food and drinks at the reception to be held around 7:30 p.m.


“There are a lot of people working on graduation,” Clay said. “We all do something it seems.”