HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. — College graduation is a big deal even in normal times – and the feeling of completion that walking across the stage to get a diploma is something that can rarely be replicated. During the coronavirus pandemic – it’s nearly impossible. One Northern Kentucky University alumna learned a lesson about how to celebrate with the help of her mother.
“Every accomplishment – even if it’s small – celebrate it,” Northern Kentucky University graduate Alize Oliver said.
If it’s big – live large with it. She made a video to share on social media to mark the happy occasion. Taking a moment to share the joy with others.
Oliver said she really wanted to get her diploma in person, but the ceremony was held virtually because of COVID-19.
“Well, when she found out she wasn't going to be able to walk – she started crying,” Alize’s mother, Tomeka Oliver, said. “It meant so much to me to be able to do something special for her.”
She wanted to recognize a great young woman and young mother who perservered through all her challenges. Alize finished school while taking care of her baby girl, Bailey.
“When you have a little baby – I have to move things, can’t make things – shorten my time, come at a later time when I can get a sitter,” Alize Oliver said. “I finished and it's big. So sorry I said I wouldn't cry...but it's big. Like I said, I'm not doing it for myself anymore. I'm doing it for her.”
She expressed her feelings in a personalized mortarboard – with a painting of her and Bailey and a quote: "It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish."
She didn’t forget to acknowledge the village that helped her cross the finish line. They held a masked, socially-distanced gathering on Saturday, Dec. 12, to celebrate Alize’s 3.4 GPA and the spirit she showed in not giving up. For Alize Oliver, she hopes her daughter can learn a lesson from her struggles.
“No matter what life throws at her – she can do it – she can finish,” she said.
Alize currently has a job and is going back to school to get her Master’s degree.