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College of Charleston holding graduation ceremony Friday

Updated: May. 7, 2021 at 6:25 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The College of Charleston was preparing Friday morning for its historic Crossing of the Cistern ceremony.

The school’s Cistern Yard will not be filled with the usual cheering family members and friends because of COVID-19 safety protocols in place.

Chairs are placed throughout the garden facing Randolf Hall, where guests traditionally sit during the ceremony. But this year, only students and college representatives are being allowed in.

“The special nature and the loveliness of that ceremony is still really important to them and something they’ve been thinking about since before they were students here,” College of Charleston spokesperson Alicia Caudill said.

Students will wear the traditional white attire, but this year, their attire also includes a face covering.

About 350 students will be at each ceremony, for a total of about 1,200. Two of those ceremonies are happening Friday and two more are scheduled Saturday.

Students will walk across the stage, but the ceremony will not include hand shaking.

Each student has been given two tickets for guests to be able to watch the ceremony at a viewing area on campus.

“We exist to get students to graduation and on to the next path where they’ll shape their lives, their family’s lives their community’s lives,” Caudill said. “And this is such a symbolic experience. So we really wanted to offer it in person. And the students embrace it even though it will be different than maybe what they imagined when they first came here.”

The ceremonies will be streamed online on the college’s website.

Students will also be able to come back and have photos taken in the Cistern Yard with family members on Sunday.

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