KENOSHA, Wis. — Walking into graduation on Saturday at Carthage College was more like walking into a party. Seniors went down a runway with bright lights and loud music instead of sitting together in a stadium or gymnasium.  

It definitely wasn’t typical. 

What You Need To Know

  • Carthage College held its first in-person graduation since 2019 on Saturday

  • Nearly 600 seniors were allowed to invite up to five guests to see them get their diplomas

  • Groups were scheduled every hour by last name to allow room for social distancing

  • Temperatures were checked at the entrance 

“Definitely not, at least for me, I know it’s nicer than sitting listening to speeches,” said Grayson Breen, a social work major and Spanish minor. 

Granted, nothing has really been '’typical’' during the coronavirus pandemic this past year. 

Since this was the first in-person graduation since 2019, Carthage College wanted to do something a little more fun, but something that still allowed for smaller crowds. 

Each of the 590 seniors were allowed five guests, and groups were staggered alphabetically every hour. 

Grayson brought his mom and dad, two friends, and his "target language expert" who helped with his Spanish minor. 

"I guess it’s just exciting that I could be here with all of my friends and family, that they can be here with me, and we can kind of go through the process together,” Grayson said. 

After walking the runway, there were several ’stations’ for the seniors to stop by, including one to get information about the Alumni Association. 

There were many opportunities for pictures, too. 

“For Grayson it’s all about the pictures,” said Julie Breen, Grayson’s Mom. “So, this has been amazing to see everybody and have them set it up.”

Then, the seniors picked up their honors cords, and cords from other organization, and made their way to the chapel to walk across the stage and get the diploma they worked hard for four or more years to earn.

Seeing his son walk across the stage to get his made Steve Breen a really proud dad. 

“This is fantastic,” Steve said. "This is a kid that wasn’t sure he even wanted to go to college five years ago, and ended up coming here and really flourishing. A lot of credit to him for the hard work, but a lot of credit to the school too, for the opportunities that presented themselves.”

Carthage College is planning to honor the seniors from the 2020 graduating class on May 22 with an in-person celebration, after the pandemic canceled last year’s plans.