By Nico Fiscella
573 days ago, students gathered in the Dodge room of the Campus Union and heard President Mary-Beth Cooper announce that spring break was going to be extended an extra week due to the ensuing threat of the COVID-19 virus. While most students were pleased with the additional time off, it did not take long for the excitement to turn into gloom.
Less than a week later, it was announced that the remainder of the semester would be completed virtually.
“In what felt like a second, my senior year was gone. It didn’t hit me until after I left that my last days on campus [as a student] were behind me,” said 2020 graduate Grace Berry.
While it did take some time, the 2020 graduating class returned home this past Saturday to finally get the graduation they deserved. The 2020 Commencement Ceremony took place in the Field House Saturday morning, in which graduates heard from speakers Sarah Wooley, Emily Van Horn, and Terry Pratt Powe ‘96.
“You were made for these times, and I will never forget, nor will you, the challenges you overcame,” said President Cooper during the opening remarks.
While the ceremony was held in the field house, it was also streamed on YouTube, where friends and family filled the live chat with support and love for their graduates.
“I am honored to graduate with a class that has found a way to make the best lemonade out of the biggest damn bag of lemons,” added Van Horn.
Families watched as the sea of black caps and gowns one by one began walking to the stage to finally fulfill their college experience. While for some it was just a piece of paper, to others it was an uphill accomplishment.
“It was amazing to finally get to cross the stage with my peers and classmates,” added Berry.
Berry was the first of her family to say she completed college, and the wait for her diploma not only meant so much to her, but to her parents as well.
“We have been so proud of Grace, and seeing her hard work pay off is priceless,” said Berry’s mother.
After the graduates received their diplomas, the alumni council hosted a food truck festival. With music, activities and a surplus of food, graduates had the opportunity to spend one last Saturday as a student of Springfield College.
While the class of 2020 received the send off they so patiently waited for, it will not be long until they return to campus.
“Class of 2020, I’ll see you at the five year reunion in four years,” said Van Horn, with a smile.
Photo Courtesy Springfield College