Gateway Technical College graduate Crystal Shaw said the college’s drive-through graduation celebration at the Elkhorn Campus on Thursday was an exciting way to honor graduates and provide a way for family members to celebrate.
“To be able to get on my cap and gown and hear my name announced – along with being named as campus ambassador and a service scholar – was wonderful. It was an enormous lift,” said Shaw.
“For me, earning this degree is an important milestone in my life, and I think the celebration was beautifully put together. I absolutely loved it.”
On July 23, Gateway held its third of four drive-through celebrations to honor graduates such as Shaw who were part of the Spring 2020 virtual commencement ceremony.
“It is an honor to recognize all 2020 Gateway Technical College graduates with this celebration event,” said Gateway Technical College President and CEO Bryan Albrecht. “Gateway graduates are inspirational leaders for their families, the workforce and our community.”
Shaw, a Veterinary Technician graduate, served as the Elkhorn Campus Ambassador for the 2019-20 Academic Year and as the official Student Responder — voice of the student body — during the Spring 2020 Commencement Ceremony, which was held online.
The drive-through celebration offered a safe and fun way for the college to celebrate its technical diploma and associate degree graduates. Students in the college’s United Student Government partnered with the college to host the event as a way to recognize graduates unable to gather as a group for the commencement ceremony in May.
The COVID-19 pandemic kept the college from holding its typical in-person commencement ceremony, so an online ceremony was held in its place in May. College leaders still wanted to hold an in-person celebration but, in light of restrictions and the health risks posed for large in-person gatherings, decided on the format of a drive-through event.
“For the college to put this together really meant a lot to me and to the graduates. I think families liked it, too,” said Shaw.
Many students drove vehicles to the Elkhorn Campus, where their name was formally announced while Gateway staff and faculty on hand cheered and lauded them for their accomplishments. They were provided an official diploma cover, congratulatory yard sign and other items to celebrate their accomplishment. A large Gateway photo backdrop was set up for students and any family members in the vehicle with them to stop and take a photo to mark the occasion, and a DJ was on hand, playing graduation-themed music.
Photos of the event can be found at https://bit.ly/ElkhornDriveGTC
Social distancing practices were followed and all staff members and students were required to wear masks in an effort to make the event as fun and safe as possible for everyone involved.
A fourth drive-through celebration will be held 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 6 on the college’s Racine Campus.