NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. (WFFT) - Graduation is a big deal for Chloe Arndt.
The Manchester University senior was devastated when the school canceled Spring 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Arndt says, “I was super upset about the situation obviously, and I was more upset about it than I thought I was going to be.”
Instead of remaining upset, the criminal justice student took action.
She started a petition urging the university to postpone the graduation rather than canceling it.
Arndt says, “Manchester talked about postponing their Giving Day, but when it came to canceling their graduation, that’s what really got me to be like, okay I’m going to do this.”
Her friends felt the shock just as much.
Nick Melero, a business student, and his girlfriend, Destina Easley, couldn't wait to turn tassels together in May.
Melero says, “She was supposed to be graduating with me, and she comes from a family where no one has graduated college, so she was really excited.”
Being the first to graduate is important to many students at Manchester, especially those inching toward the finish line.
But all hope isn't lost after more than 1,700 people signed Arndt's petition.
And Manchester University administration took heed.
Jennifer Melero, Nick's mother and educator in Michigan, saw the petition through social media and even shared it with her colleagues.
She appreciated the university's response to Arndt.
Melero says, "They contacted her and said, 'Let's see what we can do.' I think it's the power of the petition and the power of the people."
The administration offered the students four different options for their commencement.
One option to walk the stage in October.
Nick Melero says, “It was not their intention to cancel it.”
By popular vote, the students chose to walk the stage, in person, later this year in October.
Thanks to one student's willingness to take action.