Opinion: Class of 2020 Deserves a Moment for Themselves to Congratulate Their Hard Work

To the class of 2020, your senior year of college is supposed to be a time when you relish in the last moments of your final semester.


By: Alyssa Bourne | abourne1@radford.edu

To the class of 2020, your senior year of college is supposed to be a time when you relish in the last moments of your final semester.

Your senior year usually consists of spending time with friends, deciding on class rings, and walking across the stage at graduation, all while savoring the tears and years of hard work that made this moment amazing. However, this time has been cut short for the class of 2020.

The university started sending emails to its students, March 2, where Dr. Susan Trageser, Vice President for Student Affairs, addressed the University’s concerns, “As you prepare to depart campus for Spring Break, please be advised that Radford University, as well as local, state, national and international entities, are closely monitoring the COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) outbreak that began in China. This is an ongoing issue and a rapidly evolving outbreak at the global level.”

During Spring Break, Radford University President Brian O. Hemphill addressed the university on March 11, in an email, “For students, Spring Break will be continued for next week (March 16 through 20, 2020), and online classes will begin on March 23, 2020. The online delivery of course material will continue through April 17, 2020, at which time this evolving matter will be evaluated.”

Another email sent March 23 states that classes would be held online until May 8, the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester, and that May Commencement would move to Dec 12.

This postponement comes with the difficulty of students being able to attend the ceremony because some students may have jobs or live too far away to come back for the December Commencement. I asked one senior how she felt about these changes.

Senior Teonna Weaver said, “let the class of 2020 walk at a later time like July or early August, not December. … maybe having parents be able to watch their child walk virtually and have ten students walk at a time so we can continue social distancing.”

What once was an initial excitement of an extended break eventually turned into a concern, especially from Radford Seniors and other college graduates across the country.

On March 19, Virginia Tech President Tim Sands decided to have a virtual graduation ceremony at 8:30 a.m. Friday, May 15 and allow their Spring 2020 seniors to participate in either December 2020 or May 2021 Commencement.

Since this news was released, petitions have been made and shared on Facebook to keep the date for Radford and Virginia Tech‘s Spring Commencement.

VT COVID 19 Grad
Photo Credit: (Alyssa Bourne)

Weaver addressed how she felt about this news, “I felt a little upset at first because I did work my butt off so I could graduate, but now I’m okay with it because I still get my degree, and I don’t have to spend a bunch of money on a graduation gown, etc.”

Radford COVID 19 Gard
Photo Credit: (Alyssa Bourne)

“I’m more upset because I won’t be able to see my friends who are done with college while I will still be at Radford for Graduate school,” Weaver said.

There was also a petition for online classes to be converted to a pass/fail grading system:

Radford COVID 19 Change
Photo Credit: (Alyssa Bourne)

A lot has happened since the beginning of COVID-19, and no one could have expected or wanted this outcome, but everyone needs to stay safe.

Time was cut short, but let’s not forget the good times at Radford. Like enjoying a slice from Benny’s, cheering on the basketball team, staying up late with friends, nights at Sharky’s, and many more.

Although there won’t be a May Commencement, this class will always be remembered for their persistence to get through anything.

Photo Credit: (MD Duran on Unsplash)

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