Virginia Tech graduates receive degrees despite severe weather

Ceremony pushed back an hour due to lightning strikes

By Jenna Zibton - Anchor, Taj Simmons - Reporter

BLACKSBURG, Va. - Virginia Tech's graduates got through their commencement ceremony, but they got drenched by rain in the process.

Intermittent thunderstorms caused the school to temporarily evacuate Lane Stadium and push back graduation for an hour. However, the school was able to complete the graduation after the storm had passed.

"They held us in the track house and for about 30 to 40 minutes we weren't sure we were going to have commencement," said Virginia Tech graduate Gretchen Kernbach. "All of my friends said 'Classic. Four years and it ends in rain.'" 

Once the severe weather cleared out of Blacksburg, the new graduates did one last Hokie Jump and heard words of encouragement from legendary Virginia Tech football coach Frank Beamer.

"Today, I can honestly say I'm more nervous than any game we have ever played here," Beamer said during his speech. "I hope my message to you gives each of us just one more victory together and one more memorable trip through that tunnel."

Even though clouds hung over Virginia Tech's graduation, some members of the class of 2019 are optimistic that their futures are bright.

"We've had those tough times where maybe we wanted to transfer out of Tech or maybe we just wanted to drop out and quit," Kernbach said. "I wouldn't trade this for anything. These four years have been so special."

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