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College commencement ceremonies around the Triad this weekend, 2020 graduates get a redo

Both 2021 and 2020 graduates get to celebrate this weekend after the pandemic robbed thousands in our area of that opportunity.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — This year's graduates are the first since 2019 to get their diploma in-person. A big milestone, worthy of huge celebrations this weekend.

UNC Greensboro kicked off ceremonies Friday morning.

"If you can graduate and keep it together during a once in a lifetime crises if you can do that you can do anything," Chancellor Dr. Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr. said during his speech referencing the global pandemic.

The ceremony was held at the Greensboro Coliseum with social distancing and other safety protocols in place. 

North Carolina A&T State University has its ceremonies on Sunday.

"An enormous amount of planning went into the ceremonies this weekend because it's very different from what we've traditionally done," university spokesman Todd Simmons said.

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Not only will the class of 2021 walk across stages, 2020 graduates get a do-over. 

UNCG alum Macie Little said she's very excited, because the mailed-in diploma didn't suffice.

"You know I see my diploma every single day and it's almost taunting me," she explained. "It's like you did it but, I had a weird feeling it wasn't complete yet."

Sydney Rogers thought twice about her second chance at celebrating

"I was like you know what I don't need it," she Rogers initially thought. "I already have my degree, I'm already employed but then just really thinking of the four years I put in that unconditional love and work."

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Now she can't wait to turn the tassel.

"I just know I'm going to cry tomorrow, I'm definitely excited about it."

Macie Little said she might cry too!

"It's like getting to walk across the stage, it's just that aha moment, you did it, you get to flaunt your diploma and do your little dance on stage."

UNCG will host 2020 graduates on Saturday. NCA&T is holding all ceremonies Sunday, on mother's day. Some parents told WFMY News 2's Jess Winters that watching their child graduate will be the best gift of all.

"We're celebrating a total of 4,000 graduates and this includes individuals who graduated in spring, summer, and fall of 2020 who didn't have the chance to walk," Simmons added. "It means a lot to them."