This past weekend was graduation/commencement! Boy, it flew by so quickly. Here's a recap of the weekend's events:
Friday- All freshmen, sophomores, and juniors had to be out of the dorms by 6 PM, unless they were in concert choir or helping at commencement. Once they left, campus felt much quieter and empty, as 2/3 of the student body had left.
Saturday- Throughout the day, many class reunions took place at the Goerz House, which is where Bethel's president, Dr. Perry White and his wife, Dalene live. In the evening was the annaul Alumni Banquet, held in Memorial Hall. The banquet is a formal event where alumni who are passionate about Bethel College come to reminise about the past year and recognize those who have won awards. All graduating seniors were invited to attend. There was a fancy dinner, award ceremony where they recognized Outstanding Alumni of the college, and then a short business meeting. The female a capella group, Woven, sang as well.
Sunday- A Baccalaureate service was held at Bethel College Mennonite Church. It was absolutely packed full of people. Musical seniors shared their gifts and verses were read in 5 different languages. Hymns were sang triumphly. Reflections were shared by seniors and candles were lit, with prayers and hopes being said. The concert choir sang my three favorite pieces from this year, "O Nata Lux," "Filled With His Voice" (a song that we commissioned a songwriter to write in honor of Bethel's 125th year), and "The Lord Bless You and Keep You." Although I didn't sing in Concert Choir this semester because of student teaching, I was allowed to rejoin them for these three songs and that was extremely special for me. I heard from numerous people that the Baccalaureate service was a very powerful, meaningful service for them.
Commencement was supposed to be held at 4 PM in Thresher Stadium. However, due to the high possibility of severe weather, it was announced that it would be held in Memorial Hall, just like it used to be. The graduates gathered in the Fine Arts Center, like the original plan stated. However, we were quickly moved to the basement of Memorial, due to the fact that we were in a tornado warning. We did not get to process around the green as tradition states. They did move the threshing stone up the steps, so that we could still touch it on our way into the ceremony. Douglas Penner, former professor and president of Bethel College, was the speaker. Even though commencement didn't go exactly as planned, we still had an incredible day and still recieved our diplomas.
After that, came the parties. I had a party with the 6 other girls from my mod who were graduating in the basement of Bethel College Mennonite Church. We worked together to get food and we ended up having a little over 250 people in attendance. There were many parties happening, both on and off campus.
Monday- We had to be moved out of the dorms by noon. The morning went quickly, full of taking countless loads of belongings to the car, cramming everything in and hoping you'll have enough room, saying goodbyes to all the friends that you made along the way- some that you will see again and some that you will not, turning in your keys, and leaving the place that you've called home for the past 4 years.
It was a very bittersweet weekend, full of much excitement and some sadness too. The weekend is over now though, and I can offically say that I am an alumnus of Bethel College and that I have my Bachelor of Arts degree and diploma! Woohoo!