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Class of 2021 Commencement Reflections

Graduating students sitting behind Johnson Hall in their caps and gowns
Photo courtesy of Meredith College

On May 15 and 16, 2021, the Meredith community honored and celebrated the Class of 2021 with in-person commencement exercises. Due to COVID-19, four ceremonies were held outdoors in the courtyard behind Johnson Hall to ensure protocols could be followed. Several members of the Class of 2021 who participated in a graduation ceremony shared their thoughts about commencement this year. Note: these students followed Meredith guidelines for commencement activities and photos, and those pictured in groups have been fully vaccinated.

Tasia walking in her cap and gown
Photo courtesy of Tasia Bromell

Tasia Bromell: “I thought graduation was great. I appreciated the opportunity to actually walk. I know some of my friends and family didn't have that at other schools. The program itself was good and short, which gave me more time to actually talk to my friends who I have not seen in a while. I also appreciated that we could sit beside whoever we wanted to. The one thing I would change was the pronunciation hotline. I did it and my first name was still mispronounced which isn't the biggest deal, but it would have been nice if there was some type of a verification system to ensure that names would have been said correctly on the day. Overall, I enjoyed graduation; I had the best time!”

(Editor’s note: the pronunciation hotline was a tool that Meredith used to ensure that graduates’ names were pronounced correctly when they walked across the stage to receive their diplomas.)

Madison in a white dress and her gown posing for the camera
Photo courtesy of Madison Sheffield

Madison Sheffield: "While graduation may have looked a little different this year, it was great to be able to have it on campus and be given the opportunity to have our families there with us."

Shila standing by a fountain on Meredith's campus in her cap and gown, holding her diploma
Photo courtesy of Shila Alexander

Shila Alexander: “Graduation has been a bittersweet part of my academic career. I knew this day was going to come but did not expect it to happen so fast! For those of you who are about to become seniors — hold on to the good memories that you have made during school and remember that this is in fact a big deal, you are graduating!

With that being said, not everyone is fortunate to have the greatest experience at Meredith. [To those students,] I want you to remember that feeling so that when you go to work, grad school or whatever places and spaces life takes you, you know what energy you do and do not want to experience again. Do not let this one life experience bring you down to the point of never wanting to pursue something because someone told you that you could not. You can!

I look forward to the new chapters and opportunities coming my way, the healing and growth that will come out of this, and the connections I will keep with faculty, staff and students.”

Katie standing in her gown, holding her cap, by the front fountain on Meredith's campus
Photo courtesy of Katie Thompson

Katie Thompson: “Personally, I preferred graduation being on campus. I liked getting to walk across the stage with all my friends and having my name called right before my roommate’s. It was more special that way, despite having a much less exciting year due to COVID-19. Overall, I felt that with COVID-19, Meredith did an excellent job ensuring [there was] a nice commencement for my classmates and I in [the Class of] 2021.”

By Hannah Porter, Opinion Editor


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