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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Graduates reflect on commencement


What are your thoughts on commencement 2021?

It is so liberating to be done with college, and I mean that in a positive way. It’s so nice to be done with all the hard work I’ve been doing the past four years.

Caroline Vita
Communication Studies
Unfortunately, I had a previous engagement preventing me from attending, but I was so glad to see a safe and meaningful ceremony still occur on campus. I did watch the livestream. It was great to be reminded of what brought me to this point in my academic career. More exciting than hearing my own name was watching my fellow classmates, who I spent nearly two years getting to know through the program.

Michael Schwartz
Organization Development and Leadership
I was mostly in disbelief that my undergraduate education was officially ending. I sat with my friend Caroline during the ceremony, and we both agreed that COVID made everything move so quickly. It was almost like we’d missed the last year and a half completely. Time slips by faster than you’d expect, and commencement snuck up on me.

Brendan McGill
English & Theatre, Film & Music
When I received my diploma, I thought the most about all the people who helped get to that day, and that made me feel so grateful to them.

Jaylen Dotson
Film Studies
I did not have the best first semester here, and during our first winter break, I was seriously debating if I had made the right choice coming to this school. The next semester I moved to a new dorm and started fresh. I was able to make amazing, lifelong relationships and friendships that I otherwise wouldn’t have. I accomplished so much in my major, like student teaching, and outside of it as well, like making the Dean’s List and winning a writing award my freshman year. Even though I had reached very low points in the past four years, from mental health to dealing with sickness in my family, or just drama in my personal life in general, I can truly say that attending Saint Joe’s has made me into the strong person I am today, who was able to make it through it all.

Emmalee Festa
Elementary Education and Special Education
It was really important to me that my mom was there. She was my biggest support during undergrad, so I felt like she was achieving something along with me. I come from a single parent family, so it was really hard to choose who the second person would be. I did not want to slight anyone, but I also wanted to make sure that I used all the tickets I could. I ultimately chose my sister because my little brother would be a lot better than her at working the technology for my family viewing the ceremony online.

Patricia Slatowski
Special Education PK-8
My mother and youngest daughter were unable to attend the ceremony, so they spent the morning decorating. All of us went into the backyard and took many pictures. After taking pictures, we ate lunch and played five rounds of UNO. After five years of college, here I am playing UNO. After UNO, we went outside and played musical chairs because even though it was my day to celebrate, my 5-year-old made it about her. It was perfectly okay. My Olivia understood that I graduated. She knew that her mommy had accomplished something great, and it was worth celebrating.

Oretha Berry
Organizational Development and Leadership
I have four older siblings and normally they would have come to the ceremony too, but they were not able to because of the limited number of tickets. I understand why the number of tickets had to be limited, and I’m grateful that my parents were able to come to the ceremony in person. My siblings were also able to watch the ceremony virtually from their homes which was nice.

Celia Hegarty
English & Theatre and Film
I felt like I was on top of the world. I could hear all of my friends in the audience yelling out my name and cheering for me, and I couldn’t stop smiling. After receiving the diploma, I got emotional because it’s such a surreal moment to realize that your time at St. Joe’s with the people, campus and peers that you love so much is over, but it’s so fulfilling to have achieved so much.

Laura Fuentes Pou
Communication Studies
I was pretty upset that I couldn’t bring more of my family to see me graduate, but I understand the reasoning. I chose my parents.

Mark Cannon
I loved Dr. Dufresne’s speech. He captivated his audience with an inspiring and laudatory message that I believe encompassed our Jesuit education. He also did a wonderful job making the ceremony personal to our class, and he made me feel like he was speaking directly to me.

Alexa Pollice
I expected graduation to be a celebratory send off to our next chapter in our lives. I also expected it to be three or four hours, but thankfully it wasn’t. Graduation did meet my expectations of being a fun celebratory time. It was good to see everyone.

Sebastian Eaton
Theatre and Film
As a freshman I pictured it being on Sweeney Field, sitting seat by seat from my friends, and it wasn’t that much different from what we had over by McShain. The only real difference was the distanced seating. Other than that and the masks, graduation lived up to the expectations I had.

Jordan Freeland
Criminal Justice

Reporting: Rahmir Moore, Ryan Kingston, Tyeisha Turner, Aodhan Simpson, Gabby Zapata-Smalls, Oraray Allen, Jamie Banks, Shanielle Browne, Guillermo Caro, Taylor Funk, Veronica Holloway, Dylan Kaytes, Lassana Kesselly, Angela Prendergast

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