Graduation is a milestone cherished by many, symbolizing the culmination of years of hard work and dedication. However, for the graduating class of 2020, the traditional pomp and circumstance were disrupted by the challenges of the global pandemic. Now, as they cross the stage at Western Illinois University, these graduates are finally experiencing the celebratory moment they’ve been longing for.

Destinee Jaquez, a General Studies major, reflects on her experience from Wethersfield High School to WIU and expresses gratitude for the efforts made to make their transition special.

Western Illinois University Graduates Celebrate Long-Awaited Traditional Graduation Ceremony

Tony Corona

“While 2020 brought disappointment in missing out on a traditional ceremony, WIU quickly became a second home for me,” Jaquez said. “Joining the Marching Leathernecks and housing organizations enriched my experience, and now, finally walking the stage, I am thrilled to make my family proud.”

Tony Corona, a Supply Chain Management major, and another member of the graduating class, echoed Jaquez’s sentiments, highlighting his transformation from uncertainty to accomplishment during his time at WIU.

“From arriving with uncertainty to leaving with a long list of achievements, WIU has been instrumental in shaping my journey,” Corona said. “I am ecstatic to finally experience a ‘real’ graduation ceremony and celebrate this milestone.”


Patience Thomas, a Law Enforcement, and Justice Administration major, feels a surreal feeling of finally crossing the stage, emphasizing the significance of the moment after facing challenges for four years.

“While the pandemic deprived us of a traditional ceremony in 2020, walking with the class of 2024 is a testament to our perseverance and dedication,” Thomas said. “I am grateful for the unwavering support of my friends and family throughout this journey.”

As the class of 2020 joins their peers from WIU to celebrate this momentous occasion, their determination in the face of adversity proves why these students will be successful in all future endeavors. Congratulations, Class of 2024!

Western Illinois University Graduates Celebrate Long-Awaited Traditional Graduation Ceremony
Sean Leary is an author, director, artist, musician, producer and entrepreneur who has been writing professionally since debuting at age 11 in the pages of the Comics Buyers Guide. An honors graduate of the University of Southern California masters program, he has written over 50 books including the best-sellers The Arimathean, Every Number is Lucky to Someone and We Are All Characters.
Western Illinois University Graduates Celebrate Long-Awaited Traditional Graduation Ceremony

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