Juliana Mitchell, second from right, celebrates her graduation from the College of William and Mary at her home May 16 with brother Alex and parents Dave and Maddie, who planned a surprise drive-by celebration for the graduate.
Photo by Janet Barnett/Gazette Packet
When Juliana Mitchell entered the College of William and Mary four years ago, she envisioned a traditional graduation day taking place in historic Williamsburg. But amid restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the school’s in-person May 16 graduation ceremonies were canceled. But that didn’t stop her family from planning a special celebration for the 2020 graduate.
To the surprise of Mitchell, who graduated cum laude with a B.A. in government and American studies, her parents Dave and Maddie planned a surprise drive-by celebration, with family and friends gathering at a safe distance outside their Alexandria home. Hand made signs and cars decorated in the school’s colors of green, gold and silver greeted Mitchell as she stood on her front steps.
“I had no idea that my family had set up a surprise graduation drive-by,” said Mitchell, who was dressed in her graduation cap and gown. “It was so cool to see all of my family, friends and neighbors come by to congratulate me. I'm so thankful that I have such a loving support network."
Following her graduation, Mitchell is now working at AidData doing geospatial analysis regarding foreign aid. “While my graduation day was not what I had planned, it still was an amazing day,” she added.