We celebrated the first graduating class of San Carlos Apache College! This celebration was originally slated to be, according to the Tribal Chairman, "the biggest event of the year." However, given the current situation with COVID-19, we were not able to celebrate as a large in-person gathering due to social distancing requirements, even though all 4 graduates live within the San Carlos Apache Reservation. Our task here was to create a memorable and meaningful online alternative to a traditional graduation ceremony that their friends and families could enjoy online.
This virtual event aired for the first time on Facebook and YouTube on Friday, June 5, at 10am Arizona Time. People tuned in to the premiere were able to react and leave comments in real-time. This event was in addition to the virtual commencement event hosted by our umbrella institution, Tohono O'odham Community College, which took place later on June 5, at 4pm Arizona Time.
Goals of Project
Celebrate the first graduating class of San Carlos Apache College in the time of COVID-19.
Adhere to best practices for COVID-19 mitigation.
Collect digital artifacts from graduates, to be compiled into a cohesive online presentation.
Provide a memorable and meaningful online experience, to be premiered online on June 5.
Digitally archive and make available the artifacts of the commencement ceremony.
Acquire 4K video camera(s), tripods, LED light panels, microphones.
Acquire teleprompter and train on usage.
Size, purchase, and distribute caps and gowns (for use in the videos).
Response from the community was extremely favorable. The Commencement video was praised by both the SCAC Administration, SCAC graduates, San Carlos Tribal Chairman, and many participants who were anxious to see how the project would turn out and how it would represent them.
Several viewers, including graduates, expressed that they'd wished they'd participated in more of the video callouts. Despite the multiple webpages describing the various callouts and the desired deliverables, along with proof-of-concept videos, several people mentioned that they would've been more willing to participate in the group activities had they better understood the concept or that they weren't expected to "do it by themselves." For example, here is the final result of the montage of community members dancing along to the Apache drum song: https://www.facebook.com/ApacheCollege/videos/260031605084282/
Last minute submissions made it difficult to "lock down" the final video to prepare for export and upload to social media channels. However, it was also hard to refuse to use late entries, as each additional asset added to the breadth of the final product.
The final video was just under 1 hour 20 minutes long, and was roughly 8.5GB at 1080P resolution.
Several of the program segments, including the Star-Spangled Banner in Apache, the Apache drumming and dance montage, and speeches, can be parceled out and reposted as their own standalone piece of content.