Father Gives Daughter a Homemade Graduation Ceremony on Front Lawn
Gabrielle Pierce was devastated when she learned her college graduation was cancelled because of COVID-19, and she spent nearly a week in tears over the news. She had dreamed of walking across a stage to receive her diploma all her life.
“I was so upset,” Pierce told CNN. “I actually finished December of 2019. They (Xavier University of Louisiana) only have one commencement each year, so I had to wait until spring of 2020 to walk.”
Pierce was not the only one upset by the cancellation. Her father, Torrence Burson, believed she had earned the right to a ceremony, and he hated to see his daughter crying.
“I was really devastated. Just to see your baby crying — knowing that she worked so hard and stayed the course. She did everything right. I said, ‘You’re going to walk across somebody’s stage, even if I have to build you one,'” Burson said.
And that’s exactly what Burson did.
Over the next six weeks, the father from Tennessee started reserving a bunch of items and services he needed for a homemade graduation ceremony. He managed to book a photographer, stage, and podium all without Pierce’s knowledge.
On the day of her original graduation date, Pierce was shocked when she went outside to find a stage waiting for her on their family’s front lawn. There was also an audience—40 people all sitting six feet apart with masks on—ready to congratulate her. Burson was waiting for her on the podium as she walked up to grab her diploma.
“Gabrielle never saw anything until she came out to walk,” Burson explained. “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, neighbors and people that we don’t even know stopped in the street to witness this. I couldn’t ask for anything better.”
Pierce was amazed and thankful for everything her dad did for her. “Everything was just so perfect. Everyone was there to see me,” she recalled. “I felt so loved. It was just great.”
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