Kelsey Hudie was in early labor with her first child when she walked across the stage to receive her diploma May 6 from Henry Ford College in Dearborn, Michigan.
The 27-year-old was determined that nothing would stop her from graduating after she spent years working and attending college part-time to get her associate’s degree, Click On Detroit reports.
“They did tell me that I didn’t need to walk but I said, ‘I’m walking. [College] was my accomplishment and this is the proof,’” she told ABC News.
Two days after graduation, Hudie, of Taylor, gave birth to her daughter, Nyla, according to ABC News.
Hudie said the college made a special accommodation for her when they learned that she would give birth soon. She said her aunt works at the college and asked administrators if they would change the ceremony so that she could be the first graduate to walk.
“They all were just so polite,” Hudie said. “I was able to sit on the stage, so I didn’t have to, like, walk up and down a million sets of stairs.”
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Henry Ford College president Russell Kavalhuna praised the young mother for her perseverance in his speech to the graduates, ABC reports.
“When we bring people through Henry Ford College, they’ve got grit. They’ve got perseverance,” Kavalhuna said. “And this student has told me, and us, ‘I’m going to walk across that stage despite the fact that I am 38 weeks pregnant. I am dilated, and I can’t wait for you, Russ, and your friends to talk for an hour-and-a-half so I need to graduate quickly.’”
He also emphasized how important children are, telling the class, “There’s a few things more important than this college degree, and that’s the thing she’s got to get to.”
In the future, Hudie said she plans to start taking classes to earn her bachelor’s degree and become a teacher.
She also looks forward to telling her daughter the story about her birth someday. And as to the attention she has received, Hudie said she hopes her achievements will encourage other mothers to keep pursuing their dreams.
“If anybody is going through the same thing, I hope that they don’t give up,” she said.