WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WDTN) – Since traditional graduation ceremonies are cancelled, a neighborhood came together Saturday to hold a special ceremony to honor their graduating seniors.
With caps and gowns and seats full of loved ones, it was just like a regular graduation, but it took place at the end of Southbridge Lane in Washington Township.
“So many things have been taken away or delayed due to this COVID-19 situation, but this was a beautiful addition,” Ohio State University doctoral graduate Dr. Andrea Tsatalis said. “This was our lemonade out of lemons.”
Five graduates from different schools and stages of education were honored by their neighbors and families.
The idea came from a mom, Gretchen Feldmeyer, who wanted to see her youngest son, Wesley Feldmeyer, graduate.
“I just felt like we can do something,” Gretchen said. “We can do something that will be memorable and burn a piece of history in him.”
“Going from not having a graduation ceremony at all, to get to do something that’s even better than a graduation ceremony, in my opinion, it’s just amazing,” Wesley said.
Though unconventional, the ceremony brought the entire neighborhood together.
“It brought a really unique and special memory for all of us and just make living here even more enjoyable than it already was,” Cedarville University graduate Cameron Clark said.
Even though these seniors’ final school years were cut short, it was still worth celebrating.
“My year ending and having to be in quarantine like that doesn’t define my undergrad experience and the friends I made,” University of Cincinnati graduate Abby Clark said.
“There was a period that we just had to mourn the milestones that we weren’t getting to celebrate with the people that we care about,” Ohio State University graduate Cecilia Holt said. “I think moving forward, I think we have all been able to find just a degree of thankfulness for our community, our safe homes, and our health.”
Gretchen Feldmeyer said she hopes to inspire other neighborhoods to do something for their seniors too.