‘We manufactured the best of it’

DURHAM — Katelyn Gray switched from living on campus to remaining a commuter scholar for her final yr at the University of New Hampshire. It wasn’t what she envisioned 4 decades ago in advance of the coronavirus modified everyone’s reality.

“Even even though my senior year wasn’t what I was hoping it would be, I experienced a good 4 yrs listed here,” Grey mentioned. 

Much more: To my UNH Course of 2020 friends: Let’s seize our time to rejoice a calendar year late

Also: UNH course of 2021 graduation photo gallery

The 22-calendar year-outdated Newfields resident spoke just before the commence of Friday morning’s graduation ceremony for UNH’s College of Overall health and Human Services. It was the to start with of multiple independent graduation ceremonies remaining held Friday and Saturday for the Class of 2021 at Wildcat Stadium, with CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer’s recorded keynote speech participating in at all of them.

Katelyn Gray, 22, of Newfields, had positive words about her senior year experience at the University of New Hampshire's College of Health and Human Services commencement Friday, May 21, 2021.

Gray would’ve appreciated her whole loved ones to be capable to go to her graduation, but she was constrained to her parents only due to the two-visitor limit per pupil amid COVID-19 security protocols. Gray missed social opportunities this year, far too. She remained upbeat, even though, about what she’ll choose from her senior-calendar year knowledge.

“Points materialize and you can’t manage it — just make the ideal out of matters,” she said.

Reflecting on the positives

Adhering to a semester of ups and downs, unfamiliar modifications and Zoom classroom configurations, UNH graduates in attendance at Friday morning’s ceremony looked again on their 12 months with typically favourable reflections.

Angelina Martinez wears her graduation themed mask during the University of New Hampshire commencement for the College of Health and Human Services on Friday morning, May 21, 2021 in Durham.

Graduates shared praise for their professors and the initiatives of the university in maintaining operations going in the greatest fashion feasible. Apart from a few weeks exactly where UNH switched to online lessons in early February, it was in a position to keep on being at its lightest form of restricted functions, enabling for in-particular person courses with masks and social distancing.

Julia Caddell, 22, of Bellingham, Massachusetts, and William Rolfe, 31, of West Paris, Maine, both equally majoring in social work, ended up delighted with the educational working experience.

William Rolfe, 31, and Julia Caddell, 22, both had high praise for social work professors in the strange year as they spoke prior to the start of the University of New Hampshire's commencement for the College of Health and Human Services Friday, May 21, 2021.

“I can not give plenty of credit score to the social do the job department for recognizing the toll the pandemic took on pupils and knowledge that matters weren’t the same,” Caddell mentioned.

Rolfe mentioned the lodging they made “showed the dedication our professors have to us and our properly-staying.”

CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer speaks virtually at the University of New Hampshire commencement for the College of Health and Human Services on Friday morning, May 21, 2021 in Durham.

As for their own ordeals, Rolfe said, “We designed the best out of it.” Caddell agreed: “We’re still kicking butt and using names!”

Both are making ready to go on their UNH journeys with graduate school in the coming days and expressed their gratitude to have an in-person commencement. Despite not having a normal stop of junior year and senior 12 months, Caddell stated it was a highlight “just remaining in a position to have graduation – I did not think it would materialize – so it’s more than I could request for.”

Bryce Aldrich, 25, of Lebanon, Maine, graduated from the University of New Hampshire Friday, May 21, 2021.

‘Getting through it just would make everyone kinda stronger’

Bryce Aldrich, 25, of Lebanon, Maine, praised his professors, also. With all the things that was different, he appreciated “the same great teachers as usual,” from his athletics experiments major.

“They did a quite good career at generating absolutely sure all people experienced what they needed in order to feel comfortable adequate to graduate and stroll into the workforce,” he mentioned.

Like many other seniors, he missed out on assembly new persons, remaining a social human being himself, but the worth of remaining close with the persons he’d been close with and the results of his teachers was his best takeaway.

Kailey Kinsey, 22, of Somersworth, graduated during the University of New Hamsphire's Class of 2021 College of Health and Human Services commencement Friday, May 21, 2021.

Kailey Kinsey, 22, of Somersworth, acknowledged the alterations that most people experienced to make in approaching these COVID college or university semesters: “It’s been a struggle, but I assume getting through it just can make most people kinda stronger.” Kinsey mentioned she now feels “getting by means of college by way of COVID, I can kinda do everything. I did that – I can deal with whatever’s coming.”

Jonathan Knauer, 22, of Merrimack, alongside with Emma Czwakiel, 22, of Medford Massachusetts, and Kathleen Duhaime, 21, of Harmony, had been constructive, way too.

Czwakiel mentioned this senior calendar year has made her value her 1st a few yrs at UNH even extra. Knauer skipped the in-man or woman element of university, but claimed “no make any difference what life throws at you, irrespective of whether it is a complete worldwide pandemic, we can nonetheless make it as a result of.” 

Editor’s be aware: Evan Edmonds is a member of the UNH Course of 2021.       

Graduates decorate their caps during the University of New Hampshire commencement for the College of Health and Human Services on Friday morning, May 21, 2021 in Durham.