On Wednesday, Nov. 30, Missouri Western hosted Grad Fest in Spratt. Grad Fest is an event to celebrate the students who are graduating from the university on Dec. 17. Many faculty members congregate and set up tables to shower the graduates with goodies and encouragement before walking across the stage.
Theresa Castle, a student who will be graduating with a degree in criminal justice, explained how important this event was to her.
“I am an online student, so I haven’t really spent any time on campus," Castle said. “So this helps it feel official."
Castle did a year of college when she was young but decided to return and finish her degree at age 38. After graduation, she will continue to work for the Kansas City Health Department, but with the help of her degree, she will be able to be promoted.
Another graduate, Kiara Huskey, will receive her degree in physical education with a concentration in exercise science. Huskey spoke about what her life will look like after graduation.
“In January, I will actually be going to chiropractic school at Cleveland University in Overland Park,” Huskey said.
Missouri Western was a stepping stone to her making her dreams of being a chiropractor come true.
When asked why it was vital to hold events such as Grad Fest, Huskey explained her stance.
“Sometimes people come here and don’t necessarily have family," Huskey said. “And I know sometimes they can’t celebrate with their family, so it’s nice to have something that they can go to and feel celebrated and proud of themselves.”
Shelby Tyce, an administrative assistant in the career development center, helped organize and decorate the Grad Fest event alongside her coworkers. Tyce explained why the university must continue to hold this event for each graduating class.
“It is very important to hold events like this because a lot of students that are young, students that have families, non-traditional students, older students, first-generation students, and they may not really have a support system or something like that that’s excited for them,” Tyce said. “This is a huge deal, finishing their education. So I think this is very important for our students because it lets them know that we are very proud of them and we want them to know that.”
Grad Fest will continue to be an event hosted on campus to honor and celebrate students graduating in each commencement ceremony. It is the mission of the university to make students aware of how proud their professors, staff and fellow students are of them.