GLASGOW – Graduation has been something Andrew Roach, Megan Thurman, Julie Cawthorn, Elizabeth Decker and Halie Lamb have all been anxiously anticipating.
All five are cousins and they were all expecting a traditional commencement exercise, but the interruption of the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in them having alternative graduations.
Roach is the only one of the five cousins who graduated from college. The other four graduated from high school.
Roach graduated from the University of Kentucky with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering.
“Graduating from the comfort of my couch. Yeah, it wasn’t so bad,” Roach said, laughing.
The only official thing done for spring semester UK graduates was an online reading of their names, he said, adding that he thinks there may be a more traditional graduation ceremony held later on.
Roach and his friends had their own small celebration via a Zoom videoconference call.
“Everyone had some soda and some deserts they wanted to have. We just ate and sat around and chatted,” he said. “We kind of reminisced at that time, so that’s how we celebrated.”
Having four cousins to graduate the same time as he did is “really special.”
“I’m really proud of all the cousins and seeing them graduate. It’s kind of surreal because I don’t really feel like I should be graduating college much less they should be graduating high school. They should still be 12 in my mind,” he said.
Three of the cousins — Thurman, Decker and Lamb — graduated from Metcalfe County High School. They all had what their school district referred to as a personalized graduation where seniors were filmed individually receiving their diplomas for a video.
Graduating during a pandemic definitely wasn’t something Lamb was expecting, and said she was a little disappointed by not having a traditional graduation ceremony at the end of the school year.
“The big thing for me was again, because I’m not an athlete or anything like, just feeling equally recognized as everybody else,” she said.
A traditional graduation ceremony for MCHS seniors is planned for Dec. 13, pending any restrictions from the state.
As for having four cousins graduating the same time as she, Lamb said: “It’s pretty cool to get to experience all of that stuff with your family, I guess.”
Now that she has graduated, she plans to attend South Central Kentucky Community and Technical College and study nursing.
Decker also thinks it cool that so many members of her family are graduating at the same time.
The family has yet to celebrate its graduates.
“I’m hoping after everything clears we can have one,” she said.
Like Lamb, she was disappointed not to have a traditional graduation at the end of the school year.
“It’s like I’m getting cheated out in a way,” she said.
Decker plans to attend Western Kentucky University and to also become a nurse, becoming an RN first and then a nurse practitioner.
As for how Thurman feels about having so many members of her family to graduate at the same time, she said: “It’s really exciting. Not everybody has so many people graduating.”
Thurman described the personalized graduation she, Decker and Lamb had as being “different.”
“But it was the closest thing they could do to a regular graduation,” Thurman said, adding it was still special to get to walk across the stage and receive her diploma.
Cawthorn was the only one of the cousins to graduate from Glasgow High School. She, too, had an alternative graduation that was videoed.
The thing that was the hardest for her was not being able to celebrate the momentous occasion with her family like she wanted.
If there hadn’t been a pandemic, Cawthorn said they probably would have had graduation parties with their friends and they would have had a traditional graduation at the end of the school year.
Another thing that has been hard is not getting to experience graduation with Thurman.
“We have grown up together. We have experienced every milestone together,” she said. “Not experiencing graduation together was really hard because we had dreamed of it since we were kids.”
Thurman agreed and said: “We are very, very close to each other. It was rough, but we made the best out of it.”
Cawthorn plans to attend SKYCTC but has yet to choose a field of study. She is contemplating becoming a child therapist, but is also thinking about becoming an interior designer.
Thurman plans to attend UK and hopes to major in STEM education and computer science so she can become a high school computer science teacher.