A Tennessee dad who knows what a special day graduation is for high school and college seniors wanted to make sure that despite his daughter’s school not having an in-person ceremony, she would be able to celebrate.
So he threw her a personalized graduation right in his front yard.
Torrence Burson’s daughter, Gabrielle Pierce, was set to walk across the stage this month at commencement exercises for Xavier University in Louisiana. But the coronavirus pandemic curtailed those plans. Both were disappointed because they had looked forward to the day for so long.
“After all those years, you’re going to walk across somebody’s stage if I have to build you one myself,” Torrence Burson told Memphis station WQBH.
Burson pulled together a full stage, people to present a degree to his daughter, loudspeakers and everything to replicate what she would have experienced at her graduation.
Xavier has scheduled a virtual ceremony for May 23, following the trend of most colleges nationwide to observe social distancing guidelines.
But father and daughter both knew there’s nothing like being able to take the stage when her name is called.
“We love our daughter this much. Regardless of the dollar figure, what it took to pull this off. If I had to do this over again, I’d probably do it even bigger,” Burson told WQBH.
Pierce, who plans to join the Air National Guard, then return to school to study epidemiology, said she appreciated her father’s efforts to celebrate this major milestone.
“It was just amazing. Better than the actual graduation, because it was more personal,” she said. “I was just in awe. I was amazed. I couldn’t believe a lot of people showed up. People were driving by yelling congratulations.”
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