Coliseum Ready For Graduation & President

Today they'll welcome hundreds of graduates, thousands of visitors and the most powerful leader in the world, but coast coliseum officials say they're feeling no pressure. President Bush will deliver the commencement address at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College's graduation Thursday afternoon.

Director Bill Holmes says crews have made a lot of progress inside the hurricane damaged coliseum over the past few weeks. He says they'll be ready for the big event. And they're not the only ones helping make sure everything goes smoothly.

Hundreds of volunteers will become ushers, ticket takers, VIP workers and other staff necessary for a Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College graduation with the President of the United States at the podium.

Tiffany Alford is one of the volunteers.

"We're being briefed by the Secret Service as what we're expected to do. Personally I'm an usher for this, and we've been told the different things we'll have to do for that."

The hundreds of volunteers come mostly from within the college.

MGCCC Spokesperson Colleen Hartfield said, "It's been tremendous the number of the students who have stepped forward. The staff members are all wanting to help to make sure that the president's visit at commencement is the very best that it can be."

Coliseum crews have also worked toward that goal. For example, bathrooms that were not usable just weeks ago are now in service. On Wednesday afternoon, crews were putting the finishing touches on the restroom tile.

"We're ready. We're ready to go," Coliseum Director Bill Holmes said.

"It's a very emotional time because many of our students struggled to stay in school," said Hartfield. "There were families that were displaced. There were people that lost jobs and lost homes and it wasn't college as they typically knew it. They really had to make some great sacrifices to stay in school, earn they're degrees and we're celebrating they're achievements."

The White House says the president is expected to talk, in part, about the importance of community colleges in allowing more people access to higher education.