Graduates find creative ways to celebrate

Saturday, May 23, 2020
News 12 at 11 o'clock

EVANS, GA. (WRDW/WAGT) -- It was the first day of summer break for some students in our area.

The class of 2020 is celebrating graduations in the midst of the pandemic.

It's not the typical graduation celebration.

Friday was the last day of school for students in Columbia County.

Instead of the typical graduation party, this one was powered by honking and cheering.

"I was actually crying to my parents because I wanted to graduate in an arena," said Arianna Calhoun, a graduate.

Arianna Calhoun graduated from Greenbrier High School, and she says today is a day she'll remember because it's so unique.

While she gears up for her socially distant graduation at the Lady A Pavillion next weekend, this weekend was all about making it past the finish line.

College graduates decided to get a little creative.

Ashley Thurman graduated from Augusta University.

She says she imagined a stadium filled with thousands of people, but instead family and friends filled the seats in her back yard.

"I'm not at the James Brown Arena walking out on the floor with everybody watching," said Ashley Thurman, a graduate at Augusta University.

Augusta Unversity will hold their virtual commencement ceremony on May 30th.

Thurman's parents decided to host their own, they say they couldn't have been more proud.

After walking across the back porch, Thurman says she realized the moment is not about where you are, but who you share it with.

"It does feel a little more real now that a lot of people probably wouldn't have gotten to see me walk," said Thurman.

They say it's all about making the best of a unique moment and pushing forward through difficult times.

Online learning in Richmond, Columbia, and Burke counties ended on Friday.

The official last day for Aiken is 2 weeks away.

For more information on the graduation ceremonies, head to our website.