The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

Students graduate with experience and knowledge gained at EC

Students cheer at the end of the 68th Annual El Camino College Commencement Ceremony on Friday afternoon. The ceremony was on the softball field for the second year in a row, as Murdock Stadium is under construction. Photo credit: John Fordiani

Right before the commencement ceremony began, there were noises around campus and crowds of friends and families joined together on the softball field, and yet not a single blue gown was in sight.

That’s because all of the students, prepared to graduate in those blue gowns, were gathered in the North Gym, which is a different location than previous years, and then lined up to head to the softball field from there.

Michelle Arthur, acting director of student development, and the Student Development Office, the lead group in charge of organizing graduation every year, was “extremely relieved” about the weather.

“The forecast said the rain would stop by 12 and it did,” she said. “We were truly blessed. The weather was fantastic.”

This year’s commencement ceremony was organized and set up on the softball field to celebrate the occasion of graduates heading to the future of their education or lives.

The ceremony would still go on, “rain or shine,” according to the El Camino website.

As the band began to play music, and the stands were filled, a river of blue flowed from the North Gym, and suddenly two lines of graduates were waiting to be seated, as well as most of the faculty dressed in black and the occasional red gowned faculty members.

Once everyone was seated President Tom Fallo opened with a small piece introducing Grabriella Chea, who sang the national anthem.

Then followed the introductions of some faculty sitting on stage, which led to the first speech by the selected student speaker Patrick Hernandez-Ball.

After an applause for the Hernandez-Ball, Dr. Gregory Rafijah began his keynote speech.

Rafijah talked about his life and about how he contracted Chicken Pox at the age of 26, which led him to be sick and ended up with a path in medicine he wasn’t sure he wanted.

But that path led to be the career he now enjoys and is “fascinated” by.

The students were then lined up on both sides of the field so that Dean of Humanities Tom Lew and Dean of Mathematics Jacquelyn Sims could read off the names of those graduating.

Then, after each student’s name was called, there were family members, friends and other students who cheered them on.

As the last student walked up the whole crowd began to cheer, not a single person in the student area was quiet. This was followed by the changing of the tassels, and then Fallo said a few more things before the ceremony moved on to the recessional.

Fallo said to the graduates, “You are now El Camino College alumni.”

As the faculty lined up and left the field, the crowd was asked to wait until all the graduates left their seats.

The students left the softball field, and the area between the Pool Building and the P.E. North Building was lined with faculty and a river of blue flowed by the walls of black, as faculty members said their congrats and the Warrior graduates met with family for more photos.

After the ceremony Fallo talked about how important this occasion is.

“It’s a great opportunity,” he said. “It’s something to be able to have treasured memories.”

He added that this may not be his last commencement.

“This may be my last commencement as president,” he said. “But I still have friends here who I will visit in the future, and that is the truth.”

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