College of Eastern Idaho is replacing its traditional graduation ceremony with an online stream, along with a smaller in-person ceremony for nursing students and a field of recognition outside the school.
The major graduation event will be a Facebook Live ceremony beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday on the college’s main Facebook page. The ceremony will include live speeches from CEI President Rick Aman, Vice President Lori Barber, the student body president and prerecorded video for community college graduations from Gov. Brad Little. There will also be a slideshow with pictures and quotes from graduates as they get their degrees remotely conferred.
Some programs had already held their own smaller events for students, with precautions taken because of the coronavirus. The two nursing programs at CEI held a pinning ceremony Tuesday night at the Teton Vu Drive-In in Rexburg. The event featured speeches from a student and faculty member of the registered nurse and licensed practical nurse program.
Nursing teacher Jodene Trimble said she would likely use a garden hoe or stick to give each of the 40-plus students their pin during the ceremony. She said a lot of the graduates had rallied together to help each other get their final shifts at hospitals over the last two months and dealt with job loss.
“We usually have a lot of students who aren’t the traditional, right-out-of-high-school student. They have families they’re taking care of, so they are trying to be teachers at home while they take care of this nursing degree,” Trimble said.
Next week, the college will set up a “Field of Graduating Falcons” for its students. Signs will be posted six feet apart in the school’s field at the corner of 17th Street and Hitt Road from the morning of May 18th. Students and their families will be able to pose with their signs, which include their name and degree details, as well as an electronic scroll of names at the college’s sign at the intersection.
Recruitment coordinator Effie Hernandez said that more than 100 students had responded with interest in being highlighted by those signs. While the responses to the signs represent just under half of the 280 students receiving degrees from CEI since last May, Hernandez said the others were enthusiastic about getting the opportunity.
“A lot of them were really excited that we were taking the time to think of them in this way and give them a way to showcase the hard work they had put in,” Hernandez said.
The signs will be posted outside the college until noon on May 22nd, the last day before the online summer classes begin for CEI.