The COVID-19 pandemic has rearranged plans for many, and among these plans are college graduations. Unfortunately, it has wiped out all graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2020, be it college, high school, or other graduations. Naturally, many students might feel left out, like they’re missing an important coming-of-age event, because graduation is more than just walking up to the stage and grabbing your diploma in front of your cheering loved ones.

Gabrielle Piece was one of the graduates for whom the opportunity of walking across the stage was taken. Gabrielle, a student from Xavier University in Louisiana, was to accept her diploma in biology with a focus in pre-medicine. Talking to the local news station, the graduate said: “Initially I was upset. I was crying. It took me like a week to stop crying. I really wanted to walk, I felt like I needed to walk.” Luckily, her hero dad came up with a genius idea to give his daughter the graduation ceremony she deserves.

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This dad wanted to give his beloved daughter the college graduation ceremony she deserved

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Gabrielle’s father was just as upset that his girl couldn’t get the graduation day she deserved. Known by his family for over-the-top gestures, Torrence Burson decided to create a ceremony himself. “I went to bed and woke up in the middle of the night and said, ‘That’s it. I’m just going to be the graduation here,'” Torrence told the media.

After the coronavirus pandemic forced colleges to cancel graduation events, he set up a stage on his own driveway

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“After all those years, you’re going to walk across somebody’s stage if I have to build you one myself,” the dad reportedly told his daughter. So he built a stage right in the driveway of his house, equipped with loudspeakers that blasted the graduation march. The ceremony also had an invocation, a welcome speech, and Whitney Houston’s out-of-this-world version of the National Anthem was played.

The dad even printed out a program for the event

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“Gabrielle graduated from Southwind High School in 2015 with the ambition to attend the Illustrious Xavier University of Louisana to achieve a degree in Biology Pre-Medicine,” the speech, written by Torrence Burson, read. “During her junior year of college, she decided to go into another direction in medicine by deciding to go into Public Health Science for Epidemiology. After all the trials and tribulations she went through, she completed college with 130 credit hours. She now plans to join the Armed Forces to accomplish her end goal of working for the CDC.”

Gabrielle told the media that the ceremony was better “than the actual graduation”

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Neighbors who were driving by the graduation ceremony were honking in support. “It was just amazing,” Gabrielle told the media. “Better than the actual graduation, because it was more personal.”

As it felt more personal

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