Vet students refuse to let coronavirus rain on their parade

It might have rained on their parade, literally and metaphorically, but that didn’t stop the CSU Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Class of 2020 from sharing their gratitude with the Veterinary Teaching Hospital (VTH) faculty and staff.

When classes and clinical rotations shifted online in March, CSU vet students were left feeling disconnected to the hospital where they had spent their days and nights for the past two years. But they found new ways of connecting, through video meetings, online clinical sessions with faculty, Facebook groups, and a parade, complete with PPE.

Parade organizer Lauren Eytalis rallied her classmates for a last hurrah. “I just wanted to have a little bit more closure and say ‘bye’ to everyone at the hospital,” she said while painting “We love the VTH” on her car.

“We’ve been able to adapt,” said Alyssa Gorlick through a surgical mask. “If anything, these last weeks have shown that us as students, and 2020 graduates across the board, have been very adaptable, in addition to the personal in the hospital, which we’re all super thankful for. Everything they have done has provided me with more knowledge than I otherwise would have had.” Gorlick will enter into small animal private practice in New York.

To celebrate the culmination of four years of hard work, and to thank the people who guided them toward becoming veterinarians, about 50 students assembled in a parking lot on a rainy Monday to decorate their cars and say goodbye. “We didn’t get the ending we wanted but we still wanted to acknowledge everything they’ve done for us,” said Catalina Forero as she painted her car.

Meanwhile, professors, residents, interns, technicians, and two dinosaurs gathered in front of the hospital, six feet apart wearing their masks, which proved handy for wiping away tears as the students drove by and their dogs hung out their car windows.

“I’m just so grateful for everything everyone has done for us at the VTH, and it’s so great to see all my classmates. I just want to say thank you,” said Melissa Sandate, who is heading to an internship in Tucson.

man and dog in a car
The Coloradoan featured this photo of graduating veterinary students Miguel Hernandez, left, and Alex McFarland on its front page Wednesday, May 13. (Bethany Baker/Coloradoan)

The Coloradoan featured the parade on its front page Wednesday, and posted a video and slideshow online, and the college social media team streamed the parade live on the hospital Facebook page.