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New NKU grad learns a lesson in not giving up, persevering through tough times

Alize Oliver Graduation Picture.png
Posted at 6:22 PM, Dec 16, 2020

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.

Alize Oliver Graduation Picture.png

“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.

Alize Oliver's Graduation gown.png

“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.

Alize Oliver and baby Bailey.png

“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.