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Hundreds fill Coast Coliseum for MGCCC’s in-person graduation

Updated: May. 14, 2021 at 7:29 AM CDT
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - More than 1,200 students are graduating this year from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.

Hundreds of graduates lined the floor of Coast Coliseum on Thursday night, ready to walk across the stage.

Looking down proudly on their loved ones were hundreds of family members and friends, all eager to celebrate their graduate.

With the mask mandates for large groups recently lifted, MGCCC’s ceremony was one of the first to welcome an audience that isn’t limited.

Among them was Gulfport resident Tyvaro Bass, who was there to watch his friends graduate.

“It will be an honor to be able to see them walk across that stage and to be a part of it, to be able to know that this is something they will think about for years,” said Bass. “To be able to say you were were a part of it and you were actually there to say congratulations and be in person.”

While Mississippi lifted its restrictions a few weeks ago, the Centers for Disease Control announced just hours before MGCCC’s graduation ceremony that fully vaccinated Americans no longer need to wear a mask in most indoor scenarios.

Regardless, Bass said he would not be taking any chances.

“They speak about the vaccine and a lot of folks are probably taking precaution and doing it but a lot of folks who haven’t, as well. So you got that 50-50 chance,” said Bass. “That’s why it’s still good to take matters into your own hands. You’ve got to still be safe.”

With the C.D.C. loosening the recommendations for those who are vaccinated, Singing River Health System Lead Clinical Pharmacist Chris Ayers believes this could lead to more people receiving the vaccine.

“So I’m hoping that this is going to encourage more people to get vaccinated, not only in that age group, but in all age groups. So that we can get back to life as normal,” said Ayers. “I think that if we can get folks vaccinated we’ll be able to get back to doing the things that we love especially here in South Mississippi.”

Also slated as part of the college’s graduation ceremonies is the School of Nursing and Health Professions Pinning and Recognition Ceremony, which will take place on May 14 at 9 a.m. in the Coliseum.

Graduates of the Associate Degree Nursing, Paramedic and EMT, Health Care Assistant, Medical Assisting Technology, Medical Laboratory Technology, Physical Therapist Assistant, Practical Nursing, Radiologic Technology, Respiratory Care Technology, and Surgical Technology programs will participate in the pinning and candle-lighting ceremony.

Last weekend, 81 graduates of the adult education program received their diplomas.

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