GREENSBURG (KDKA) – After what has been a long and challenging year for students, seniors are ready to cross the collegiate graduation stage and enter a new chapter.

Unlike last year’s online ceremonies, schools are finding ways to hold in-person commencement ceremonies.

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The University of Pittsburgh-Greensburg was one of those schools that held an online ceremony in 2020 but this year they were able to hold an in-person ceremony by spreading out three different ceremonies throughout the day.

It was the culmination of a mentally tough and strenuous year for this group of Pitt-Greensburg seniors.

“Just knowing that the staff and everybody here made an effort to have a graduation,” said Jacob Snyder. “They even opened it up for the students to vote on whether or not it would be outside or inside so this is why you have the graduation you see here today.”

Last year’s ceremony was a scramble after COVID-19 hit. The school ended up showing students’ faces on a slideshow they had to watch through a computer screen.

President Bob Gregerson says this year they were determined to give students the celebration they earned.

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“These students persevered and they were determined,” he said. “They overcame those obstacles and today we’re going to celebrate that.”

The school split up graduation for the class of 2021 into three separate ceremonies by major.

Each student was permitted to bring two guests but students said it was more important for them to still be able to celebrate and turn their tassels safely with family and classmates by their side.

“This school has such a sense of community and pride with its students so being able to celebrate that with the students actually in person was much better than anything I could’ve imagined months ago,” said Kiara DeVore.

Of course, Pitt-Greensburg isn’t the only school trying to get back to traditional ways.

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Gregerson says he hopes their ceremonies can serve as an example to other schools about how to celebrate the students safely.