The Class of 2020 graduates experienced an unparalleled year.
They are innovators of technology, leaders of the next generation, creatives igniting their talents to inspire the world, and changemakers in their own right. And although their final semester on campus was different than expected, they continued to show their true Catamount spirit by supporting each other and their community.
These graduates will undoubtedly leave Cullowhee changed, forging their path in these extraordinary times with their dreams ahead of them and the knowledge that they, in turn, can change the world. For these graduates, this isn't the end; it's only the beginning.
Rehearsal has looked a little different this semester, but our choir students have continued to come together to make music and share their talents. Throughout the semester, they have gathered weekly via Zoom to warm up and rehearse. Using cameras on their laptops and smartphones, they record solo tracks that are then edited together by a sound engineer into final virtual choir videos.
In December, Kenyatta Fortune will become a three-time graduate of Western Carolina University. Doing so didn’t come without facing significant challenges. “The dynamics are different,” Fortune said. “While the professors provide guidance, encouragement, and support, the student is given full autonomy in setting personal timelines, meeting agendas, and maintaining contact with milestone updates on their thesis research.”
Dakota Groves was inspired by the "Pride of the Mountains" Marching Band after seeing their performance in the 2014 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. His devotion to practice and music led him to being less focused on his electrical engineering classes, which ultimately resulted in academic dismissal. But, his story has come full circle. He returned to WCU, changed his major to follow his love of music, and now, he is marching in the 2019 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade with hopes that he can inspire the future generation of musicians