Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Carnival Extravaganza Celebrates Class of 2024

Last Friday, as the weather warmed up and students took to grassy lawns throughout campus, the Whitman Events Board threw their first Commencement Carnival. The carnival marked fifty days until the class of 2024’s commencement this Spring, and featured a mechanical bull, face-painting, and food, amongst smiling faces of the senior class and their friends.

Senior Astrid Ketcham, WEB Chair and events organizer, was inspired by last year’s commencement celebration which took place downtown at Big Brew Pub.

“I thought it was so fun, I loved getting to go and see my senior friends and celebrate them knowing that tight deadline — that it was fifty days with them,” Ketcham said.

For Ketcham, the Commencement Carnival and other celebrations for the senior class are catered to graduating students but open for everyone on campus, and a great way to appreciate upperclassmen as they approach post-grad life. While organizing the Commencement Carnival, Ketcham ensured all classes could enjoy activities ranging from enjoying the mid-day sun to flopping on and off a rented mechanical bull.

“I loved seeing people in my year [last year] so I knew when I became Senior Chair and WEB Chair, I would use both of those resources and create a really awesome combined event on campus and do a carnival because I love carnivals,” Ketcham said.

With the resources available through WEB and the Senior Chair position, Ketcham threw one of this spring’s earliest outdoor events in the comfort of sunny weather and carnival games.

Aside from just having fun, though, Ketcham was eager to showcase the successes and difficulties faced by this year’s graduating class. Defined by the pandemic, the 2024 senior class faced online schooling in their early college years and have pioneered the shift back to in-person teaching at Whitman.

“I really want to celebrate the seniors, specifically the class of 2024, it’s the first of the COVID classes so I think that this is a warranted celebration and I think that everyone has been through a tough year, especially the past four years with bringing Whitman back to life,” Ketcham said.

For Ketcham and other seniors, overcoming the unique challenges of mid-pandemic learning and the gradual revival of face-to-face schooling and events presented the current senior class was a major cause for celebration. Although difficult, current seniors rose above the challenge of COVID regulations and are celebrating their success.

Seniors Lenie Redder and Elle Mangahas, who attended the event last week, agreed with Ketcham and held the pandemic as all the more reason to celebrate with the Commencement Carnival.

“I’m excited for the actual commencement ceremony, especially because I didn’t get a high school graduation because of the pandemic. But actually graduating college and leaving — I’m kind of nervous about,” Redder said.

Despite some nerves for leaving campus, Redder and Mangahas agreed that because of graduation’s quick approach, the more chances they had to celebrate their past four years here, the better. For Mangahas, graduating this spring means bidding farewell to the wheat fields and roaming greener pastures.

“I’m excited to graduate! I’m excited to get out of here, I love Whitman and I’m ready to move on,” Mangahas said.

Ketcham also shared the somewhat mixed emotions tied to commencement as graduation rapidly approaches. Although Ketcham celebrated last year with friends, last week she enjoyed the carnival and celebrated her own countdown to graduation as a member of the 2024 senior class.

“Mostly, I’m stunned that the date is actually something on my calendar. I can’t believe that I have fourteen days until I install my thesis, and around fifty days until I graduate — until I’m gone. These four years have been so quick and so fun, it’s really sad I almost don’t want to leave, I love all the people!” Ketcham said.

Amongst a range of attitudes for the upcoming graduation, the Commencement Carnival showcased the 2024 senior class as a resilient group that is ready for some fun before leaving campus. Despite the hurdles thrown at them by the pandemic, this year’s seniors have kept their heads held high and are prepared to celebrate their success in the coming months.

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