(Reggie Beehner)

By Walter Lesczynski

The ride is almost over. Seniors are a hair’s breadth away from that goal they’ve been pursuing for years: graduation. The week after spring break has been full of both business and pleasure for seniors, as they prepare to take the stage for graduation this May.

What better way to start off Senior Celebration Week than to make new friends and win prizes?

Well that’s just what seniors did for breakfast at the alumni house Monday morning. Seniors enjoyed one of a student’s most cherished delights-free food-and entered into a drawing for a free class ring from Jostens.

Lucky winner Erin Jolly from Berea chose a design in white lustrum, valued around $300.

On hand to rub elbows for the event were Alumni Board President Bill Jones and Eastern President Doug Whitlock.

Tuesday featured free pizza and also marked the beginning of GradFest.

A record number showed up in the main lobby of Powell.

Representatives were on hand for everything a senior might need: class rings, professional photographers, counselors from career services and financial aid.

“It’s convenient. I’m going to order my graduation announcements, and take a look at the class rings,” said Kevin Steinmetz of Lexington.

You could also pre-order a DVD of the commencement ceremony, a yearbook and pick up your free attire for the big event.

“Many students don’t realize that the cap and gown are at no additional charge,” said Jennifer White, university graduation specialist.

“It was kind of surreal picking up your cap and gown,” said Melissa Rosloniec, an english literature major from Cordova, Tenn.

“I’ll admit I put it on and pranced around a little bit,” Rosloniec said. “Four years fly by so fast.”

GradFest covers all the bases, including making sure you get your degree-the way you want it.

“We give students the opportunity to check their diploma information,” White said. “Some students don’t want their middle name on there, or have gotten married and need to make sure their maiden name is corrected.”

On Wednesday, seniors were treated to exclusive goodies as the Colonels baseball team took on the Hilltoppers.

Commencement ceremonies are May 10 at Alumni Coliseum.

Seniors who don’t participate in GradFest should still verify that their address is updated.

“Each year, dozens of diplomas are returned due to a wrong address on file,” White said. For those who were unable to attend, there will be last minute cap and gown pick up from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 2 in the second floor lobby of the Student Services Building.

Senior week and GradFest continue through Thursday, so if you’re a procrastinating senior or were a bit apathetic during your time at Eastern, why not jump on board and join the team for the big win?

Stop by Powell between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Thursday will also be discount day at the campus bookstore.

Soon-to-be alumni will get 10 percent off almost everything in the store.