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'Carmencement': Sac State Students Celebrate Graduation In Socially-Distanced Ceremony

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — When COVID put the brakes on graduation for another year, Sacramento State University decided to move forward with plans for a ceremony of a different kind.

"I got my mom [and] my brother back there," said a student at the front of the line.

Thousands from the so-called "Class of COVID-19" lined up for a "carmencement."

"It means a lot, especially given everything this country and this world has been through," said Xavier Rivers.

Sac State grads like Rivers were glad they could celebrate with family -- even if it meant rolling up to accept Hornet grad kits.

"They have a stole for graduates, and some other gifts from Sac State, instead of walking on stage," Rivers said.

It was a party-like atmosphere.

"It is very fun, very fun. I'm having a good time," said Xavier's father.

Students and families decorated their cars, but others took it one step further. Jasmine Smith Babcock, 26, was in a limo. This working mom took a few years off to have a baby and then hit the books. She's now headed to law school.

"It makes it so much harder because when you're at home you're expected to be a mother, wife, everything," Babcock said. "When you're at school, you're expected to be a student. So when you combine those and you're doing school at home, you have to figure out how to do all that kind of stuff."

The posh rides brought new meaning to pomp and circumstance.

"It's not in the Golden 1 (Center), but we're having a graduation and they're excited - and they're having fun," said Sac State President Robert Nelson.

Students and their families could wave at faculty and staff along the route - and tune into a radio station to hear speeches.

"They don't have to hear me speak. They can drive right by the speech and not hear and they're much happier," Nelson joked.

The carmencement will continue Saturday at 8 a.m.

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