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Luna honors graduates.

Luna salutes its graduates

By Dave Kavanaugh
Luna Community College

Luna Community College is proud to announce the graduation of its Class of 2020.

“You did it,” said Luna President Dr. Rolando Rael. “Nothing can stop you when you are truly determined to make your dreams a reality — and put in the hard work, commitment and perseverance required. Completing your graduation is evidence of that.”

While the originally scheduled commencement ceremony was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a possibility of a ceremony on a later date, provided that it’s feasible.

This year’s graduating class, at Luna and across the globe, has had to endure adversity unimagined when the school year began. The global pandemic of COVID-19 forced public and private entities to take up unprecedented social distancing measures in the effort to mitigate the impact of the virus. Luna faced the possibility of shutting down but — thanks to a cohesive effort from students, faculty and staff, with support from trustees — instead made a largely successful transition to a virtual campus with online course delivery.
The adjustment wasn’t easy for everyone. Making the switch to distance and online teaching and learning has been a challenge at times, for a variety of reasons. Luna invested in expanded tutoring hours and availability, embedding a number of tutors from its Academic Center for Excellence in many online courses to offer additional help. Essential student services were transitioned to remote availability over e-mail and telephone. While some classes — those that require traditional face-to-face delivery and hands-on experience —were not able to be moved online, others fared well in the transition.

Francisco Apodaca, director of STEM and interim director of Allied Health Sciences, said Luna actually outperformed many peer institutions in making the switch. That, he said, is a credit to the college’s students, faculty and staff.

With uncertainty clouding the forecast in terms of reopening public and private sectors in the months ahead, the college is cautiously optimistic about moving forward. Summer session will continue with Luna’s online-only delivery, and with few exceptions the campus grounds will remain closed to the public while the college’s services remain intact. Still to be determined is exactly what form the Fall 2020 course offerings will take. Online and distance delivery may continue as needed, or there may be a return to traditional delivery for those classes that had been face-to-face before. Luna’s plan will reflect adherence to state and federal guidelines.

“We’re hoping for the best and that we will be able to reopen our campuses,” Rael said, “but either way we will be prepared.”