NSU graduate says virtual commencement “high sigh of relief”

Trinity Velazquez

Editor in Chief

Northwestern State University hosted virtual commencements for the Spring 2020 graduates on Friday, May 8. Four videos, one for each academic college, were posted on the university’s Facebook page for graduates and their families.

The academic colleges are the College of Arts and Sciences, Gallaspy Family College of Education and Human Development, College of Nursing and Allied Health and the College of Business and Technology.

The first commencement began at 10 a.m., honoring the graduates from the College of Arts and Sciences along with the Gallaspy Family College of Education.

Although faculty, staff, and students were saddened by the chance of not being able to walk this semester, some graduates expressed content with the unusual graduation.

Allison Garcia, who received her Bachelors in Liberal Arts from the Louisiana Scholars’ College said, “Even though being together in person with my family to commemorate the occasion is something I and every other graduate really wanted, I don’t feel robbed, cheated, or any less celebrated,”.

Patricia Reed, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Biology, said that her favorite part about the graduation was attending the live feed.

“And cheering on my peers and seeing them cheer me on as well,” she said.

Later this year, the Spring 2020 graduates will have the option to participate in a traditional ceremony Aug. 8, or the Fall Commencement that is scheduled for Dec. 18.

Megan Palmer, the 2019-2020 editor in chief of the Potpourri, graduated with a Bachelor of Science from the College of Business and Technology for Hospitality, Management, and Tourism. Palmer said that she will participating in the traditional ceremonies because she still wants the experience.

“I was always on the sidelines of hearing the announcements in the hallways to hand out yearbooks. I want that experience for myself and to be able to walk across that stage,” she said.

Palmer said that the commencement speaker, Holli Conway, stood out to her the most.

Conway is a 2016 graduate of NSU who was Miss Louisiana in 2018 and second runner-up in Miss America the same year.  Conway is also a graduate of NSU’s Department of Theatre and Dance.

“She was a student like me who pushed herself to be greater and ultimately landed in New York City on Broadway. She is an inspiration that even small-town colleges produce amazing people,” Palmer said.

Shalondria Rainey, who graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education, was in her final semester of student teaching when the COVID-19 forced her to say goodbye to her students earlier than expected.

“I became accustomed to seeing students every day. Every day I was there to help them grow and watch them develop as little humans,” she said.

Despite the change, Rainey said she is grateful for all that NSU has taught her.

“NSU taught me leadership. It also taught me the willingness to meet and learn from new people. I will forever carry that with me,” she said.

Garcia says that she will remember the sacrifices people have made during the pandemic the most.

“The choices people are making now in this time of crisis are very telling of their character and luckily I’ve surrounded myself with incredibly level-headed people. I’ll remember the adjustments and sacrifices we all made together,” she said.

Photo submitted by Chris Reich

Trinity Velazquez

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