‘It’s a blessing’: 3,600 App State grads to receive diplomas at in-person ceremonies

BOONE, N.C. — Graduations are underway for Appalachian State University students.

Over the next five days, more than 3,000 will graduate at the Convocation Center -- and their parents will be allowed to watch it in person.

Channel 9 reporter Dave Faherty was on campus Friday and saw firsthand what officials are doing -- both during and after the ceremonies -- to make sure everyone is safe during the pandemic.

Roughly 3,600 students are graduating between Friday and next Wednesday, broken up between 13 different ceremonies. The first one started at 9 a.m., with students walking across the stage to receive their diplomas.

The university has spread out the seating not only for the students but also their enthusiastic parents. App State leaders said they are being very cautious, and each graduate will only be allowed two in-person guests.

The ceremonies will take place at 9 a.m., 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. to allow crews enough time to sanitize the whole building.

Several graduates and parents told Channel 9 they were thankful the school was able to hold the ceremonies in-person.

“After a whole entire year, year-and-a-half of wondering if we were gonna have this, it was really nice to be able to come celebrate here,” grad Laura Tutterow said.

“Enjoy something we worked hard for and for our families to be here to witness it -- I’m just extremely happy and it’s a blessing,” said another graduate, Monte Harris.

For family members not able to attend, the university is streaming the ceremonies online.

(WATCH: App State to hold in-person graduation)