‘It means the world to me’: VSU holds first in-person graduation since 2019

Updated: May. 23, 2021 at 4:22 PM EDT
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ETTRICK, Va. (WWBT) - Last March, Virginia State University graduate Janae White ordered a customized graduation cap with pictures of her family members and mentors that helped her get her degree. More than a year later, White is finally able to wear her graduation cap with her family.

Sunday’s ceremony recognized students from classes of spring 2020, summer 2020, fall 2020 and spring 2021.

One by one, graduates walked across the stage to mark another milestone in their life. This is a moment many VSU graduates say they’ve been waiting for.

“It means the world to me that I got to walk the stage and my mother and godmother is right here watching me,” said White.

This ceremony means a lot to White after the COVID-19 pandemic stopped her graduation plans last May.

“Back in 2020 of last year, we got an email saying we had to pack up and leave campus. My first thought was graduation,” she said. “Will my mother get to me see graduate? Will I walk the stage?”

To keep everyone safe during the ceremony, masks were required for graduates and their two guests.

Graduates were also seated six feet apart.

Riquel Moore, a VSU graduate from the class of spring 2021, says she’s thankful to celebrate her own achievements in-person with her classmates.

“Out of my mom, dad, I’m the first child to graduate,” Moore said. “It feels great to graduate with all of them.”

White also says she was excited to walk across the stage with her fellow graduates in-person.

“I’m feeling everything,” White said. “I’m happy, I’m sad, but I think most of all I’m excited because I got to do it.”

Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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