A moment in time – class of 2017

Jessica Lindsay, Special Education Major. Megan Cerrie, Communication Science Disorders Major. Photo by: Tiffany Stewart

This story was co-written with Jessica Wooten.

With the end of the semester around the corner, everyone is busy with finals, turning in last minute assignments and awaiting summer vacation.

For many students, it is the final countdown. This weekend is the marker that ends a college career and begins a new chapter in life for the class of 2017.

There will be three commencement ceremonies between Friday, May 5 and Saturday, May 6, in WCU’s Ramsey Center.

Friday holds the graduate school ceremony at 7 p.m. There will be two undergraduate ceremonies on Saturday. The first ceremony, at 10 a.m., is for the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Education and Allied Professions and College of Fine and Performing Arts. Following this will be the second ceremony at 2 p.m. for the College of Business, College of Engineering and Technology and College of Health and Human Sciences.

The spring graduating class will be the largest in WCU’s history with more than 1,500 students. This record has been broken six years in a row – with 1,465 graduates in 2016 and 1,446 in 2015.

Before graduation, many WCU students are making time to get their graduation pictures taken – a final memory.

“It is weird to think that, after six years, this is finally happening. Something I didn’t see happening a couple years ago, and it is only a couple days away. Hard work and dedication does pay off. There are so many memories that pictures cannot capture,” said hospitality and tourism major,  Rachel Colichio.

This spring has been very popular for graduation photos. They capture a moment in time and, for many students, are a way of embarking on the next step as they finish this chapter of their lives.

Rachel Colichio, Hospitality and Tourism Major. Photo by: Jesse Burnett

“It’s bittersweet knowing I’ve accomplished something no one else in my family has. These pictures don’t compare to the late nights or moments that remain just as memories. I’m not ready for graduation! I’ve made a home at WCU and now I have to leave. At least for a little while…” said Hunter Cabe, social work major.

Many of WCU’s students have had their graduation pictures shared on Western Carolina’s instagram page – @western_carolina. Also, several young student photographers have been recognized through the social media page.

“Taking graduation pictures felt like the final step that I had to take before graduation. It really made me feel like it was all real. As much as I tried to take pictures in places that were important to me here at Western, there’s no way that one of those pictures could represent all of the experiences that Western has provided me. All in all I’m ready for graduation, I’ve worked so hard to get to this point in my life,” said Danielle Phillips, elementary education major.

Everyone’s journey at WCU is different, but Cullowhee has been home to many and that is the bond that will be felt as everyone unites and walks the stage on May 5 and May 6.

See for yourself.

A Moment in Time 2017