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VacationColumbus family attends three college graduations in three weeks | #vacation | #seniors | #elderly

Columbus family attends three college graduations in three weeks | #vacation | #seniors | #elderly

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From left, Cameron, Kristen, Chelsea and Marcus Atha attend Chelsea's graduation from Bowling Green State University on May 2. The Athas are attending three college graduation ceremonies in three weeks.

With the return of in-person commencement ceremonies, families of college graduates across the country are planning what will be for many their first non-virtual celebration since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

For Marcus and Kristen Atha, the family has not one, but three graduations this year to attend.

“We’ll be at three different ceremonies in the course of three weeks,” said Marcus Atha, senior pastor at North Broadway Methodist Church. “We’re having big fun.”

Back-to-back-to-back college graduation ceremonies

The Athas, of German Village, have four college-aged children: 23-year-old Lucas and 22-year-old triplets Chelsea, Cameron and Simeon.

Three of the four Atha siblings are graduating in back-to-back-to-back ceremonies this month. Last Sunday, Chelsea graduated from Bowling Green State University with an education degree. Lucas will graduate from Ohio State University Sunday with a moving-image production degree, and Simeon graduates May 16 from Boston University with an international relations degree. 

The middle triplet, Cameron, will graduate from the University of Cincinnati next year from a five-year environmental engineering program. 

COVID-19 still impacting graduations for the class of 2021

After COVID-19 canceled most in-person high school and college graduations last spring, this year’s seniors and their loved ones have wondered what ceremonies will look like for the Class of 2021.

Simeon Atha will graduate May 16 from Boston University. The Atha family is attending three college graduations in three weeks.

The questions seem endless: In-person or virtual? One ceremony or multiple? Will guests be allowed? Where can schools host these ceremonies to promote social distancing? And will last year’s seniors, who missed out on that closure, be honored?

The Atha family is in some ways a microcosm of how various universities are holding commencement ceremonies in this new season of the pandemic. 

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