Class of 2020 returns, ready to celebrate and heal

Jordan Beck sat at a rooftop bar overlooking St. Petersburg, Florida ,on March 13, 2020, when he acquired term that Denison was suspending in-person classes.

Information of the quickly spreading virus had caused quite a few university learners to rethink spring break strategies, but Beck and 6 of his closest buddies at Denison — all associates of the Class of 2020 — resolved to make the vacation.

High atop the Lodge Zamora, the traveling occasion was awash in emotion —a mix of sadness, anger, and confusion. Just a working day right after their arrival at Beck’s spouse and children condominium, his buddies started departing, scattering across the state to gird themselves for COVID-19 lockdowns.

When the pay a visit to was brief, its significance and poignance have developed in the collective memory.

“Looking again on it, I feel actually fortunate to have been with my buddies at that second,” reported Beck, a scientist functioning in Washington, D.C. “How a lot of seniors received to expend one final night jointly?”

The prospect to reunite with old classmates is between the driving forces driving the future weekend’s celebration. All 6 of Beck’s mates who bid tearful goodbyes in St. Petersburg — Katie Aucamp, Kathryn Belfance, Grace Horn, Katherine Kunze, Caroline Lewis, and Brooke Shuler — are dedicated to returning.

“The folks are the explanation why I’m coming back again,” stated Horn, who’s pursuing a master’s diploma in public administration from the University of Ga. “I’m psyched to see my mates again and, of system, my mother wants to be there to share in the minute. She loves the regalia.”

Natalie Zaravella thinks the weekend will be cathartic for quite a few.