To continue recognizing students for their academic achievements over the past year, Georgia Highlands College brought its 2020 Honors Ceremony to a virtual format.
“This was our 48th annual Honors Ceremony, so it was a tradition that we did not want to be impacted by social distancing guidelines,” Director of Student Life John Spranza said. “Our students work hard every year, but this year’s special circumstances showed some unique perseverance and dedication to closing out the year in a manner that none of us were prepared for when the semester began. Recognizing the achievements of our students became especially important in order to celebrate during a time that was difficult for everyone.”
The event was presented through a video compiled of prerecorded messages from faculty- and student-submitted photos. Faculty and staff nominated award winners earlier in the spring semester and then created short videos of themselves presenting the awards. Event organizers contacted the students being recognized and gave them the opportunity to submit their own photos to be used in the production. Award certificates were mailed to their home addresses.
“We support the holistic development of our students and want all of our students to engage and excel both inside and outside the classroom,” Spranza said. “Students that invest in their campus community find it can pay dividends towards their success both while at GHC and beyond. Recognizing that success is key in validating their experience and showing our pride in what they have achieved while at GHC.”
The program included several categories of awards and recognition, such as Academic Awards, Athletic Awards, Special Recognition Awards and Leadership Awards.
While the event highlighted the achievements of many GHC students, Spranza said the college recognizes that all students go above and beyond in their roles inside and outside the GHC community.
“We specifically recognized these students during the presentation, but I know there are many more GHC students out there that also deserve recognition,” Spranza said. “While accolades and awards are an important way to honor our high-achieving students, I also think it’s important that we congratulate all the students that attained their goals this year.
For example, Spranza said it is important to continue recognizing students who are able to overcome academic struggles by passing difficult courses, who manage careers and families while working toward degrees and students who successfully made the transition to remote delivery this semester.
“During this pandemic, we had students that were front-line workers, medical professionals, grocery-store clerks, delivery drivers and so many more in essential jobs that put their health and wellness in jeopardy all while still working to complete class assignments and finish the semester,” Spranza. “To all of them, I say ‘Thank You!’”