The class of 2024 gathered at Rhodes Stadium on May 22 to celebrate their successes ahead of  graduation on May 24. Friends and family gathered to celebrate the graduating class — sharing food and laughter and ending the night with fireworks and dancing. 

At the start of the night, senior Sonali Schroder, an Arts Administration student, told Elon News Network she was most excited about the class of 2024 having fun in one place.

“Just spending time with everyone. It's a place where we’re getting to see everyone just one last time before graduation,” Schroder said.

Evan Purnell | Elon News Network

Seniors enjoy games and refreshments at the Senior Celebration on May 22 at Rhodes Stadium.

Schroder attended the event with friends that she had made throughout her Elon career. She said she spent her time at Elon involved in campus events through her small business, where she sold art pieces that she had designed as well as henna designs. Schroder also said she was a SMART Mentor for the Center of Race, Ethnicity and Diversity Education. 

Senior Sierra Spoerndle, an International Business major, said she was excited to see her friends “one last time”. 

Tomorrow, and even Friday, is going to be super busy and crazy with receptions and celebrations, so it's nice to have time set aside to just make more memories at Elon and spend some quality time with friends,” Spoerndle said.

This thought was echoed throughout the night, with students gathering to play games, take pictures and make memories. Among the games were spike ball, cornhole and footballs for casual games of catch.

Many of the students attending the event mentioned the impact that COVID-19 had on the graduating class, as well as their experiences at Elon, and expressed gratitude for the ability to come together as a class with vastly different social distancing protocols than that of when they started their journey at Elon. 

Senior Maria Guadarrama Hernandez said that the reflection of her time at Elon was the highlight of her night. 

“I’m more excited about not only spending time with people, but also reflecting on the other fun memories that we’ve made over the last four years,” Hernandez said. “I think it’ll be a good time to be reflective, but also having a good time instead of being sad.”

Senior Dezirae Zaman also said she felt as though underclassmen should focus on making lasting relationships. She said she spent her time at Elon involved in the “Please Clap!” improv group, as well as other campus life organizations, and said she is grateful that Elon presented her with the opportunity to build relationships over the years. 

“The most rewarding part about Elon is all the people that I’ve met,” Zamansaid. “I’m excited to just celebrate senior year with everybody here in one place. It’s going to be a lot of fun.” 

The senior class ended their celebratory night watching fireworks before taking to the visitor's side of the field and dancing to music in the DJ lights — their laughs echoing over the speakers.