Gateway Technical College graduate Angie Haney said while she was looking forward to the college’s drive through graduation celebration held on Monday at its SC Johnson iMET Center, she was unsure of the impact it would have on her – until she arrived at the event.
“I was excited for today. I didn’t realize how much it would mean to me until I was going through it, looking back at my mom in the truck and then hearing my name called and the music starting to play as I drove up,” said Haney, a Human Services graduate. “It was great, more than I could have asked for.”
Gateway held its second of three drive-through celebrations to honor graduates who were part of the Spring 2020 virtual commencement ceremony.
The event 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.
“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.”
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.
“I am so glad that Gateway heard the student voice and put on this event for graduates,” said Haney, who also served as Campus and District Ambassador for the college, an official voice of the student body. “They could have forgotten about the concerns that were raised, but they didn’t. They took action – I saw the love and compassion today, and it was a great day.”
Many students drove vehicles to the SC Johnson iMET Center, 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 here: https://bit.ly/RacineDriveGTC
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 drive-through event will also be held at the Elkhorn Campus on July 23.
Graduates can attend the celebration at the campus of their choosing. Event details have been sent to their Gateway email account and posted online at www.gtc.edu/commencement.