Coronavirus: Champlain College senior to attend virtual graduation, expounds on spring semester

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Champlain College senior Caitlyn Dangvu and her friends had been hoping to spend their last few months together ticking off items on their end-of-college bucket list.

They were going to experience the traditional rites of passage — Senior Week and commencement — together after four years of hard work.

Dangvu’s family in California was going to visit Vermont for the first time for her commencement. She was excited to show them all the special things she had discovered about Vermont while a student.

The new coronavirus pandemic threw a wrench in all of those plans.

Dangvu, who remains in Burlington and has lined up a post-graduation job in Colchester, doesn’t know when she’s going to physically see her family next. She has spent this past week, Senior Week, attending events online. And, the senior year memories that were planned — restaurants to visit, sailing and camping, day trips to Stowe and Shelburne — are all on hold.

“I guess I have this hope that once the lockdown lifts and everything goes back to normal, maybe I can get back some of the memories that I’ve missed out on these last few months,” Dangvu said. 

On Wednesday, Dangvu was watching the annual Senior Week comedy performance on Zoom while speaking to a reporter.

“It’s a little bit weird, but I appreciate the fact that the college is trying to make things as normal as they can,” Dangvu said. 

Saturday’s commencement will be held online too. Champlain plans to eventually hold an in-person celebration for the class of 2020, but those details have not been finalized.

Dangvu plans to visit a friend in New Hampshire on Saturday so they can graduate together. (She’s been limiting human contact for two weeks in preparation.) They plan to dress in their caps and gowns, and Dangvu will call her family on Zoom for the occasion.

“It’s sad because I think it’s such a momentous occasion and it’s something that generally people would take for granted,” Dangvu said. 

Contact Elizabeth Murray at 802-651-4835 or emurray@freepressmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at @LizMurrayBFP.

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