University grads celebrate virtually, still stick to tradition

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CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — The month of May always means big graduation celebrations. U of I grads did not get a traditional ceremony this year, but their achievements did not go unnoticed.

Instead, they celebrated their achievements virtually. The university live-streamed the graduation ceremony Saturday afternoon.

“Seeing the big ceremony, I think, would have brought some closure, and I certainly hope they can still do that in the future,” says one grad’s mom Cindy Meijer. “But, we did watch the virtual ceremony, and that was really nice to kind of toast off the day.”

Although it was unconventional, the grads still got to hear motivational remarks from university faculty and notable alumni.

Students did not walk across the stage, but snapping a picture in front of the iconic Alma Mater statue is was surely a close second.

The 91-year-old sculpture welcomes incoming classes every year, and posing in front of it is the way almost every student says goodbye.

Some say even though they didn’t cross the finish line the way they had hoped, it did not take away from their accomplishments.

“It took four years to get to this point. I’m just happy we got the opportunity to celebrate,” says grad Jalen Hill. “We still got our degrees, so can’t really complain.”

It’s all about the next chapter in life and the support system behind you.

As long as you have people you care about and people that care about you, it’s the same. It’s a little sad, but at the same time, life is what you make out of it. So, just go crazy. Do what you want. Enjoy it to the most whatever the circumstances,” says grad Iaroslav Ekimtcov.

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