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Ventura County Community College District Class of 2022 celebrate in-person

Students at Ventura College attended their commencement in person

Thousands of community college students in Ventura County celebrated their commencement ceremonies in person, after two years of remote or drive-through ceremonies.

After two years of drive-thru or on-line ceremonies due to the pandemic, Moorpark College, Oxnard College, Ventura College and Ventura College East Campus in Santa Paula celebrated in person with the 5286 students in the class of 2022 on Thursday.

For many of those graduating, it’s been a particularly challenging couple of years as they've juggled on-line studies and family responsibilities amid a world-wide pandemic.

Graduating student Isabel Coles says she’s delighted to finally be able to dress up in her finery and celebrate her graduation in person.

"I'm excited, I'm a single parent so I'm doing this for my son. I'm going to continue my education and go for my Bachelors," she told KCLU.

"It feels amazing especially because of the pandemic these past two years so it feels nice to finally celebrate with everyone in person," said Coles.

Meghan Long also had to support her own children, while earning her place at the ceremony.

"This means a lot, it's very emotional. I have kids, I raise them on my own and I work full time," she explained.

"I did it, I didn't give up. The perseverance, that's huge," said Long.

Ventura County Community College District held their commencement ceremonies on Thursday
Caroline Feraday
Ventura County Community College District held their commencement ceremonies on Thursday

Jelani Bell agrees that it means a lot to be able to attend in person, in front of his family and friends.

"I worked hard to be here so it's very exciting for me," he told KCLU.

He said it's been challenging to overcome the challenges of having his studies on-line, or masked and distanced.

"I wasn't sure we'd get to do this in person, and it has been challenging. I'm happy that we made it here today," Cesar Ramirez told KCLU.

Hundreds of proud family and friends – like Diana Martinez - were also finally able to be there in person for the ceremony, carrying balloons, flower garlands and their cameras to capture the moment.

"It's really amazing to be here in person, supporting them," said Martinez.

Caroline joined KCLU in October 2020. She won LA Press Club's Audio Journalist of the Year Award in 2022, 2023 and 2024.

Since joining the station she's won 10 Golden Mike Awards, 6 Los Angeles Press Club Awards, 2 National Arts & Entertainment Awards and a Regional Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Writing.

She started her broadcasting career in the UK, in both radio and television for BBC News, 95.8 Capital FM and Sky News and was awarded the Prince Philip Medal for her services to radio and journalism in 2007.

She has lived in California for eleven years and is both an American and British citizen - and a very proud mom to her daughter, Elsie.