GREENSBORO, N.C. — The class of 2020 is being celebrated a lot differently this year. Virtual graduations are taking the place of a student's traditional walk across the stage due to COVID-19.
Disappointed graduates are having to find other ways to celebrate and their families are coming up with unique ways to make it happen.
One Triad family wanted to make sure their 2020 graduate received all the pomp and circumstance she deserved on her big day. So, Alycia Jones' fiance' transformed their Greensboro backyard into a surprise commencement ceremony.
The proud fiance' built the stage and podium so Alycia would have the chance to celebrate her accomplishments and take a joyful jaunt across a 6-foot platform to receive her diploma.
Close family and friends were there to cheer her on as she was called to the stage. And of course, the small crowd demanded a speech from Jones who received her Master's in Adult Education from North Carolina A&T State University.
"I love ya'll so much. This is why you are my family," said the emotional graduate in front of fewer than six people. "I love you so much. Thank you for making sure I walked across the stage no matter what."
The ceremony lasted just under six minutes and the walk across the stage only about six steps but it was a walk well worth it as Alycia prepares to search for jobs teaching science.
"I've been home with my son and taking classes for 2 1/2 years, and now I am eager to start the next phase of my career," she said.
Alycia told WFMY News 2's Tracey McCain she wants to inspire all families to do something special for their graduates in spite of the circumstances.
Congratulations, Alycia, and the entire class of 2020!