TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Change has become more normal during the pandemic, but for some that change included missing out on life’s biggest moments. College graduations had to get with the times, so people were forced to celebrate in a different way. But now, the students at Tyler Junior College (TJC), are more than ready to cross the stage into a new chapter.

For soon-to-be graduates decorating your cap is a rite of passage that means graduation is near. They are fully equipped with glitter, paint, and bright ideas that represent the students’ personalities and dreams. In 2020, the college held more than 50 micro ceremonies, but this year they are thrilled for their more than 500 students to walk across the stage, in four major ceremonies.

“We kind of are going back to that full blown graduation ceremony where we have the videos and the music and really that kind of full experience,” said Britt Sabota with the registrar’s office.

The staff is comparing themselves to “Santa’s elves” as they prepare to give students their well-deserved gift. Kourtni Adair is a vocational nursing student, who says her journey was inspired by the nurse who helped save her life.

“The nurse that came in, she talked to me. She didn’t come just to give me meds or to see about a patient. She came to see about a person,” she said.

Adair’s graduation cap represents grace, because she says she wouldn’t have made it this far without a lot of prayer.

“I got to thinking of the scriptures that I had been reading, and that’s when Philippians 4 and 6 popped up. And the scripture is ‘be anxious for nothing but with prayer, supplication and thanksgiving make your requests known unto God’ and I held onto that,” Adair added.

On Thursday, the school will host a “victory lap” drive-through celebration for the graduating class. They will gather before noon and will ride around campus to be celebrated by their classmates and teachers. The route will begin on E. Devine and take an immediate right on Mahon, turning right on Lake Street and left on Baxter Avenue.

Graduation will be on Friday, Dec. 17 in the Wagstaff Gymnasium on the Tyler Junior College campus.

The ceremonies are as follows:
• 9 a.m. — School of Humanities, Communications & Fine Arts
• 11 a.m. — School of Engineering, Mathematics & Sciences
• 1 p.m. — School of Professional & Technical Programs
• 3 p.m. — School of Nursing & Health Sciences

The ceremonies will also be broadcasted live on the TJC Facebook page.