Extraordinary People

Student’s graduation ceremony axed – so dad recreates it in front garden as surprise

Gabrielle Pierce was left devastated when hearing she wouldn’t be able to receive her diploma for her bachelor’s degree in public health science.

Since the coronavirus chaos spiralled, there’s been a lot of talk of missed holidays, birthdays, and weddings – but not so much about graduations.

And Gabrielle Pierce was left devastated when hearing she wouldn’t be able to receive her diploma after working towards her bachelor’s degree in public health science.

However, it seems not all superheroes wear capes.

For doting dad Torrence Burson decided to go the extra mile and if his daughter couldn’t get to the ceremony then he would bring the ceremony to his daughter.

Creating his own event, Torrence took advantage of their sunny Memphis backdrop in Tennessee and set up a stage, lectern, and ‘congratulations’ decorations outside.

He even managed to get his hands on a Xavier University of Louisiana flag, complete with ‘Class of 2020’ emblazoned across it.

Chatting to CNN, Torrence said: “Gabrielle never saw anything until she came out to walk.

“At that moment, I didn’t have any worries. I was speechless. To see my baby, walk across the stage, and all her friends, family, neighbours and people that we don’t even know stop in the street to witness this, I couldn’t ask for anything better.”

The family’s neighbour Delandrion Todd captured the heart-warming moment in a series of Facebook photos which have since been shared hundreds of times.

She wrote: “My next-door neighbour’s daughter couldn’t have her official graduation due to the pandemic so he created one for her.

“Now that’s a great/proud father for you. He made it happen!”

Meanwhile, over in Ohio, the bus drivers of Loveland High School were keen to honour their senior high school students who also missed out on end-of-term celebrations.

In a touching tribute, the schools’ transportation department arranged 22 of their iconic yellow buses to spell out ‘2020’ when seen from a bird’s eye view.

The art and photography teacher, Jim Barrett, used an aerial drone to capture footage of the drivers waving up at the camera from in-between the buses.

Bus driver Jennifer Bloom Bowman said: “Some of us have been around long enough to transport these kids since kindergarten, and some of us have only been working with the district for a few years, but the one thing we all have in common is the love for our students. This is a huge accomplishment and anyway we can show them some love, we will do it. So, here’s to the Class of 2020. Your bus drivers are proud of all of you.”

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