Shenandoah University celebrated commencement Saturday, May 18, with the surprise of a lifetime for one of its 1,274 graduates.
During the introductory speech, graduate Twanessa Archie was called on stage, where President Tracy Fitzsimmons, Ph.D., read a letter from Twanessa’s mother, U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Quadedra Corey, who is currently deployed in Iraq for a nine-month tour.
Corey has been in the Army for 17 years and hadn’t seen Twanessa since August 2018. This is her sixth deployment.
Corey surprised her daughter by running on stage, where the two embraced.
I was not missing the opportunity . . . to see my daughter walk across the stage with her bachelor’s degree.”
She traveled for days to get to Winchester for the special moment.
Corey was straight out of high school when she had Twanessa. She said knew she didn’t want her children to have kids at a young age like she did. She also wanted Twanessa to be able to walk across the stage at her college graduation, something Corey said she was unable to do.
“I teach my children life lessons from the mistakes I made in my life,” Corey said.
Twanessa earned her Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science in December of 2018.
Read Quadedra’s Letter
My name is Sergeant First Class (SFC) Quadedra Corey, I have been in the active duty Army for 17 years. I am a VERY proud mother of five children and Twanessa is my oldest child. I am currently deployed to Iraq for a nine month tour.
This is my 6th deployment.
I was deployed when Twanessa started her first year of college. I have always been proud of my children.
I spoke to my command team and after some plane tickets and several days of traveling — I’m here. I was not missing the opportunity to see my daughter walk across the stage with her Bachelor’s Degree.
I was straight out of high school when I had Twanessa. I knew I didn’t want my children to follow the same path as I did with having children at a young age. I graduated college, but, I didn’t walk across the stage. I teach my children life lessons from the mistakes I made in my life.
I decided to surprise my daughter because I am very proud of her.
I would walk miles just to see smiles on my children’s face’s. I haven’t physically seen my daughter since August 2018.
My family and I are extremely proud of her.
Sergeant First Class (SFC) Quadedra Corey