University's act of kindness allows student to realize late mom's graduation dream
Theresa had been imagining graduating since she was a girl, after watching convocation ceremonies in the movies.
“It was definitely ‘High School Musical,’” she laughs. “The big American graduation where everybody throws their cap at the end.”
It was an accomplishment her mom Daphne hadn’t experienced, but hoped Theresa would.
“Along with getting married,” Theresa says. “I think graduating was a big one for her.”
So you can imagine how they felt when, after two years of enduring virtual studies at the University of British Columbia, Theresa was told she’d be receiving her bachelor’s degree at an in-person ceremony.
“(My mom) was probably more excited about it than I was!” Theresa laughs.
Weeks before the convocation, they posed for a family photo with Theresa in a cap and gown.
But then — just days before her big day — Theresa received an email from UBC saying that, because of the all damage caused by that extreme weather, their shipment of regalia would likely not arrive in time for the ceremony.
“It’s not the end of the world,” Theresa says. “There’s a lot of other (greater) problems the storm created. But…”
But it was disappointing.
When the news of UBC’s plight reached the the manager of convocation and events at the University of Victoria, Jeanie offered to help.
“I kind of said, ‘Hey! We have regalia here so let me know if you want it,’” Jeanie says.
When the offer to lend 600 of their gowns was gratefully accepted by UBC, Jeanie came in on her day off to help load up a truck. After travelling by ferry from Victoria to the mainland, the regalia made it in time for the ceremonies.
“Convocation is super important to me,” Jeanie says. “And I understand how important that is (for the students).”
But she couldn’t have known how important it was for Theresa.
“My mom passed away a few weeks ago,” Theresa cries. “She really wanted to be there.”
When Theresa finally delivered her grad speech at the convocation, when she walked across the stage and received her degree wearing a cap and gown, she couldn’t have felt more grateful for all the people who worked so hard behind the scenes to make the graduation ceremony look just the way her mom dreamed it for her daughter.
“She’ll be proud. And she gets to see the cap and gown,” Theresa says, after wiping away her tears. “If she is there in whatever way, I hope she likes it.”
Perhaps the moment she’d like the most would be the one Theresa’s dad captured on video. It shows a smiling Theresa wearing her gown and throwing her cap in the air. It’s a moment just like in the movies.