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West Virginia Northern Community College (WVNCC) will release a tribute video for the class of 2020 on May 15, the date its Commencement would have been held for the graduating class. WVNCC, through feedback from students, chose to postpone Commencement until a future date, yet to be decided. In addition, WVNCC will light up its three campuses on the evening of May 15, in blue lights to pay tribute to its 2020 graduates as well as first responders and essential workers battling COVID-19.
The tribute video will include messages from WVNCC President, Dr. Daniel Mosser, and 2020 Class Valedictorian, Paulayna Zias. Each graduate will be acknowledged in turn alongside their photo for those who provided one. The video will conclude with written messages to graduates and selfies from faculty and staff. The tribute will be released at 7 p.m., which is the exact time Commencement exercises would have started. The video will be on WVNCC’s YouTube channel and a link will be posted on WVNCC social media sites.
“When we made the overwhelmingly difficult decision to postpone Commencement, we knew we wanted to do something special to recognize our graduates on this day,” commented Mosser. “This video will be a fitting tribute until we can safely bring people together again and celebrate with pomp and circumstance, and the tradition of a WVNCC commencement ceremony.”
In conjunction with the video, WVNCC will light up its three campuses with blue lights. The lights will illuminate buildings in Weirton and New Martinsville, as well as the front of the B&O Building in Wheeling, to acknowledge what would have been commencement and to pay tribute to law enforcement, first responders, health care professionals and all the essential workers who have kept our communities safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. This honor also coincides with National Police Week. In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation which designated May 15, as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as Police Week.
“Not only will we be celebrating our graduates on May 15, but we wanted to acknowledge the brave men and women who have given selflessly during this crisis,” Mosser added. “These heroes include numerous WVNCC alumni, as well as the graduating Class of 2020, in our healthcare, education, criminal justice and many other programs, who will soon be on the frontlines.”