SOU graduate participates in first commencement ceremony

ASHLAND, Ore. – Graduations continue all over the valley this weekend, and this year’s college graduates have something extra to celebrate.

The graduating collegiate class of 2024 includes many students who were unable to have high school commencement ceremonies due to pandemic era lockdowns and restrictions.

With so much change and uncertainty, many students felt like their achievement was glossed over.

Sergio Mendoza, a 2024 SOU Honors graduate says his last months of high school and introduction to higher education were surreal.

I remember that for a lot of students, especially like me we went into the classroom the last time and we didn’t think that was gonna be the last time,” said Mendoza. “It feels nice to be able to kinda put that cap and gown, get those chords, decorate your cap and gown, say hi to friends, say bye to friends.”

Sergio and his classmates will walk across the stage at SOU’s commencement ceremony Saturday morning and for many of them it will be for the first time.

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NBC5 News reporter Kade Stirling was born and raised in Idaho. Kade graduated from the College of Southern Idaho with a degree in Digital Media. He started his broadcast career as a Master Control Operator at KMVT in Twin Falls, ID. He's a bookworm, Lego fanatic and an animal lover. As an outdoor enthusiast, Kade loves Southern Oregon. He spends his free time hiking with his fiancé and dog.
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