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University of Notre Dame club recognizes Sacramento area graduates through signs, gifts

With no formal graduation ceremony this year, the Notre Dame Club of Sacramento honored local graduates in its own special way.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Notre Dame club of Sacramento is recognizing Sacramento area graduates who were supposed to be graduating on stage before the ceremonies were cancelled due to COVID-19.

A Nextdoor neighbor let ABC10’s Ananda Rochita know about this story on the ABC10 Nextdoor page.

Erin Kilbane and her daughter Katie Kilbane are part of the Notre Dame club of Sacramento.

Katie is the president of the club and they are fans of the University of Notre Dame.

“The first time I ever stepped foot on the Notre Dame campus was three years ago and I cried just because I was there,” Katie said.

Katie has seen many members grow up at the university from freshman to senior year..

“To see them go from that new students reception to graduation, it’s so bittersweet and heartwarming to see them grow up through their college experience,” Katie said.

Graduation is a bit different this year for the class of 2020.

Isabel Nguyen was supposed to walk this year in South Bend, Indiana, but she’ll be attending her graduation ceremony virtually instead.

“I was devastated to be honest. Because I was really looking forward to my senior year and that time of being an undergrad, so to have that taken away it was extremely disorienting,” Nguyen said.

This week, ahead of the virtual graduation ceremony on Sunday, Katie and Erin stopped by to surprise the seniors in the Sacramento area.

There are eight of them. A few are still in South Bend. 

“To have Katie and her mom come out and to have the support of my local Notre Dame Sacramento club even though it was a small gesture, it meant a lot to share that and celebrate it with them,” Nguyen said.

Each graduating senior got a sign, balloons and a small gift.

“It was truly a wonderful experience seeing the sincerity and appreciation and the memories and the positive outlook of what their future may hold,” Erin said.

The Kilbanes wanted to show acknowledgement of all of the students' hard work, especially during this time.

“It’s hard to be positive,” Katie said. “I’m not gonna lie. It’s really hard right now but in doing things like this and the joy that we were able to bring to our students and their families over the last two days with delivering them put a smile on our faces and brought joy in our lives.”

Thank you to neighbors on Nextdoor for letting us know about neighbors spreading kindness. If you have a story let Ananda Rochita know on the Nextdoor page or email her directly at arochita@abc10.com

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