SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Neb. – Faculty and staff at Northeast Community College in South Sioux City have offered a personal touch to students as they celebrate the completion of their education this year.
To personalize the milestone, each graduate who took classes at the extended campus received a mylar graduation balloon with a custom “You Rock” rock weight and a graduation card personally that were delivered to their homes.
Cyndi Hanson, executive director of the Northeast Extended Campus, described the personal tribute as an opportunity to celebrate the success of the students after they missed the opportunity to commemorate the season together due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The staff and faculty really missed the chance to have closure with our students as they concluded their Northeast journey with us,” Hanson said. “We decided to do something special like this to let those grads know we didn’t forget them.”
To maintain social distancing, Northeast staff members vetted the list and gathered address information from their work-at-home locations. One of them utilized her family to paint and wrap rocks for the weights. Hanson handwrote messages of congratulations in the cards and two other staff members picked up the 59 balloons from HyVee, tied them onto the rocks and bundled them into groups of five in the garage at the extended campus at 1001 College Way.
The following day, three staff members and a student worked independently to deliver the balloons to student homes. During delivery, each person, who wore face masks, put the gift on the doorstep, knocked and walked away.
Hanson, said, “While I didn’t get to see the reaction of too many of the graduates as I was already in my car and moving on when they answered the door, the few I did see were really excited to be remembered.”
Hanson said the mother of one graduate who was unloading groceries when she pulled in told her she was at the wrong house as no one there would be getting a balloon. Actually, the woman’s son was surprised to be remembered as he had graduated mid-term.
“We included December graduates because they could have walked across the stage, too. Even though their experience wasn’t disrupted as much by COVID-19, we didn’t want them to miss the celebration moment either.”
Deliveries were made to Northeast Community College graduates in Dakota City, Emerson, Homer, Pender, South Sioux City, and Wayne Neb.; Elk Point and North Sioux City, So. Dak.; and Hinton, Sergeant Bluff, Sioux City, and Smithland, Iowa.
Northeast Community College student Alondra Gonzalez, South Sioux City, places a gift on the doorstep of a Northeast graduate recently. To personalize the milestone, each graduate who took classes at the extended campus received a mylar graduation balloon with a custom “You Rock” rock weight and a graduation card that were personally delivered to their homes.