Twice in a Lifetime: Kameran Proby talks about sharing the graduation stage with both grandparents

For the second time, Alcorn State University senior Kameran Proby will share the graduation stage with a grandparent.

Proby, who will earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing during Saturday’s 2023 Spring Commencement Ceremony, will share the moment with her grandfather, Eddie Jones, who will receive a golden diploma as a member of the 1973 Golden Class.

Two years ago, when receiving an associate degree in nursing, she walked with her late grandmother, Willie Mae Jones, as she was honored with the Golden Class of 1971.

Proby and her grandmother, Willie Mae Jones, during the 2021 Spring Commencement.

Not every day a student gets to share the graduation stage with one grandparent, let alone two of them. But for Proby, marching with her grandparents has been on her checklist, and she’s thankful to check that box.

“It feels great to cross another milestone off my to-do list,” said Proby, a McDonough, Georgia native. “It’s already a proud moment to graduate, but to share the moment with my granny two years ago and now with my papa is unimaginable. My grandparents have always been there for me no matter what I needed.”

Feeling equally blessed is her grandfather. Mr. Jones cherishes the opportunity to celebrate with his granddaughter while following in the footsteps of his late wife.

“It’s an honor to march with my granddaughter,” said Jones. “When she earned her associate degree in nursing, she marched with my wife, so it’s an honor to follow my wife in sharing the stage with her.”

The moment is meaningful to Jones because of its rarity.

“This opportunity means so much to me. It’s almost hard to describe with words because not everyone gets this chance. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that was 50 years in the making. So, you only get one chance to do this. I appreciate the honor of walking across the stage with her.”

This year’s celebration makes Proby reflect on her grandmother and her gentle spirit. She remembered how caring she was and expressed pride in being her granddaughter.

“She had such a big heart and was always willing to give to those dearest to her. I feel proud and blessed to have watched her celebrate with her golden class. I know she is happy and smiling from above that I’ll share the stage with my papa.”

Proby is the latest of her family to carry on its legacy at Alcorn. Antoinette Jones-Gamble ’97, Proby’s mother, is proud of the stamp that her family has left at the University.

“The pride of Alcorn has had a tremendous impact on our family for three generations,” said Gamble. “This opportunity is so special for us. Even though my mother is physically no longer here, she is with us in spirit. We are so thankful for the legacy she began.”

Now that the journey is over, Proby looks forward to enjoying the fruits of her labor.

“These are the moments that make the long nights and stress worthwhile. I’m happy to carry on the Alcorn legacy, and I look forward to representing my HBCU back home in Georgia. Knowing that I’m about to become an Alcorn graduate gives me such a warm feeling.”