FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) — Emotions ran high for a lot of Fort Wayne students Saturday afternoon.
"Yeah, I didn’t think I’d cry, but I cried," said Ivy Tech Community College graduate Lauren Brown.
"I actually started crying. Everything hit me like, wow, I’m finally done," said Ivy Tech graduate Breeana James.
But these are happy tears.
After over a year of uncertainty about how COVID-19 would affect graduation ceremonies, Ivy Tech and Indiana Tech students celebrated their big day.
Brown and James were a part of Ivy Tech’s drive-through ceremony.
"You have all these people literally screaming in your face, 'You did it! Congratulations!' and then you see people you know," Brown said.
And though it wasn’t exactly what James pictured when she first started her degree, she’s just happy to have a ceremony.
"Not what I expected at all, but it’s nice. I appreciate it a lot," James said.
While Ivy Tech cheered on their graduates on campus, just about a mile away, Indiana Tech students filled the Coliseum in three separate Saturday ceremonies.
"All these people cheering for us, all the faculty that you’ve been working with for the last four years, and everybody’s congratulating us. It’s appreciated," said Indiana Tech graduate Malte Dennert.
Jack Koshko and Dennert say they’ve become like brothers over the past four years.
So even though their graduation included masks and social distancing, they plan to just enjoy the moment.
"Today is the day, so I’m not thinking about tomorrow or anything," Dennert said. "This summer’s going to come and hopefully everything’s going to get better with the whole COVID thing going on. But today is today, and I think we deserve it to have a good night tonight as well."
"Celebrate tonight for sure," Koshko added.
For these 2021 graduates, they can celebrate not only earning their degrees, but doing so through a pandemic.
The students say even though their graduations looked a bit different this year, that won’t make their ceremonies any less memorable.