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'Heartbreaking': Colorado College Seniors React To Canceled Graduations

Stephanie Daniel
Naya O’Reilly is a first-generation college student and senior at the University of Colorado Boulder which recently canceled spring graduation ceremonies.";

College student Naya O'Reilly understands why the University of Colorado Boulder canceled graduation due to COVID-19. But they said it was "horrible" to receive an email from the university detailing the decision.

O'Reilly, who uses the pronouns they, them, theirs, is a first-generation, environmental honors student from San Diego. They had at least 10 people flying in for the commencement ceremony.

"It is really heartbreaking to know that my parents will not see me like walk at all or do my tassel thing," O'Reilly said.

This week, the University of Colorado Boulder, along with other colleges and universities around the state, announced that they were canceling or postponing spring commencement ceremonies.

After canceling their graduation ceremony, the University of Northern Colorado said the school is working on alternate plans to allow spring graduates to celebrate.

Tatiana Usher, a UNC senior and psychology and human services major, said she wanted to cry a little bit after hearing the news.

"The fact that that part was taken away, like what did I do college for?" Usher said. "Yes, I do get a degree at the end but there is that moment of proudness and excitement that I'm missing out on from walking across the stage."

Colorado State University postponed and moved graduation to December while Metropolitan State University also announced it will reschedule spring commencement.

Aliah Humphrey is an early childhood education major and senior at MSU Denver. It sucks, she said, that graduation won't happen in May. But Humphrey is happy the university chose to postpone it rather than cancel like other schools did.

"That means that eventually we'll get to have our ceremony," she said.

The “American Dream” was coined in 1931 and since then the phrase has inspired people to work hard and dream big. But is it achievable today? Graduating from college is challenging, jobs are changing, and health care and basic rights can be a luxury. I report on the barriers people face and overcome to succeed and create a better life for themselves and their families.
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