On Friday, May 7th, 2021 the students had their graduation celebration that did not take place last year due to the peak of the pandemic and necessary social distancing. While we are not out of the woods yet, enough people have been vaccinated that we could still have a nice party with necessary regulations in place. The students and staff gathered in the backyard of one of the houses with catered food from Panera’s Bread and cupcakes decorated with plastic graduation caps.

The first photograph features our CEO, Elizabeth Martin (to the left) standing side by side with Ryan Petersen and our program director, Jennifer Richard. Ryan gifted the staff with some Marvel comics drawings from his sketchbook. Ryan has always been fascinated by superheroes and once gave a presentation about how the many positive character traits we are studying may be found in these fictional, albeit realistic, personalities. The second photo is of Sean Ward with his family. And finally, we have Chris Padula posing with his father and lovely girlfriend. The celebration is a clear sign that we are finally starting to make the steady sprint toward the Old Normal. We are right to be optimistic that the graduation ceremony and celebration next year will feel as though the pandemic never even was!

The alumni who graduated with last year’s class had the option of traveling to the Times Union Center to have a real graduation ceremony that could not have taken place last year due to necessary social distancing. We at the College Experience understand that the emotions are still raw with the alumni who had to adjust to the New Normal and missed out on the ritual of a ceremony last year. We are hoping that this year’s formalities make up for what was absent a year ago and it still feels as special!

It was a pleasure to welcome the family members and close friends who have certainly made such a difference in the students’ success. We are looking forward to more events in the future that look a lot closer to what we remember.