Grandmother and grandson look forward to sharing the stage at Commencement Exercise

Alcorn State University’s Spring Commencement Exercise will be a very special occasion for the Spears family. Nicholas, a Jackson, Mississippi native who will earn a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness management, will share the stage with his grandmother, Ms. Christine Toney Spears, a Liberty, Mississippi native and retired teacher who will receive the 1967 Golden Class degree.

Receiving degrees together is something that Nicholas never imagined experiencing with his grandmother. Looking back on the obstacles that she’s hurdled makes him a proud grandson.

“I never thought that my grandmother and I would walk across the stage together to receive degrees,” said Nicholas. “It’s a blessing to share the stage with her because she has been through so much.”

Back in February, Ms. Spears received an invitation from the University to join her classmates in celebrating their 50th year college graduation anniversary, but due to health concerns, she doubted that she would be able to make an appearance.

“When I got my invitation, I was hesitant to confirm that I’d be there because I had just had open heart surgery,” said Ms. Spears. “I didn’t know what my condition would be at the time, so I was hesitant to send the letter saying that I would attend.”

After the surgery and receiving a clean bill of health from her doctors, she immediately informed the University that she would be glad to participate in the ceremony. She expressed how thankful she is to be healthy enough to enjoy her day with her family.

“When my doctor told me that I was doing fine, I went ahead and agreed to attend the ceremony. I am so grateful because it is a blessing to be here to see this moment. I’m very excited to receive my golden class degree.”

Nicholas has a strong support system that includes his grandmother. He knows that he can always count on her to bring out his best abilities.

“She’s always motivated me to do my best. She’s had a long career as a teacher, so she really encouraged me to stay committed to my studies. I can depend on her to call and check on me to make sure everything is all right.”

Visit Saturday, May 7 and tune in to the live stream of the 2017 Spring Commencement Exercise to see the Spears family receive their degrees.

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