BLACKSBURG, Va. (WFXR) — What started as an idea quickly formed into a well designed event: a graduation ceremony for the student workers at English Meadows Assisted Living facility in Blacksburg.
Regional Marketing Director for English Meadows, Robin Sutphin said the idea just made sense.
“They had been stripped of a lot of things, so to speak,” Sutphin said, “proms, graduations, family get-togethers. And so we just wanted to do something out of the box.”
“They wanted to make sure that our five caregivers, who are graduating, are recognized because so many high schools and colleges aren’t able to do it in-person,” said CEO and co-founder of English Meadows, Mike Williams.
Over the weekend, two college seniors from Radford and Virginia Tech and three high school seniors — one from Giles High School and two from Auburn High School — walked out, cap, gown, and all, to receive their degrees and diplomas. English Meadows pulled out all the stops.
“We walked in like normal graduates would do, so it was pretty much set up like a regular graduation, just for five people instead of hundreds,” said one of the Auburn High School seniors, Grace Bishop.
Bishop, who has been working at English Meadows since February, says the act of kindness from the assisted living facility didn’t surprise her at all, but the event itself did.
“I didn’t expect anything like that, but it was definitely really special,” she said.
It was also special for the residents at English Meadows in attendance like Bob Hoehn, getting to see his caregivers celebrated properly.
“I was so pleased with the way it was arranged and the way it was carried out,” Hoehn said. “Though it wasn’t a full-blown college or high school graduation, the attention was on them, and that’s what was important.”
“There were a lot of tears being shed by everybody, so it was special,” said Williams.
“It’s a moment that a lot of my other classmates won’t get to experience, so I’m very lucky that I got to,” said Bishop.
Bishop looks forward to attending school at New River Community College (NRCC) for nursing. Now that she’s finally walked across the stage, she feels ready to take the next step in her academic career.