Over 1,200 students filed into the James R. Wilkins Jr. Athletics and Events Center for graduation. One of those students was surprised by her mother who is currently deployed in Iraq.
“I knew my daughter was graduating and the army changed its rules. If you’re deployed nine months, you can go on leave if you’re in a deployment environment. However, you have to pay for your own ticket. So I was like ‘I don’t care’ this is my oldest daughter, she’s graduating from college. This is a one-time thing,” said Twanessa Archie’s mother Sergeant First Class Quadedra Corey.
Shenandoah University President, Tracy Fitzsimmons, called Twanessa Archie up to the stage and read a letter from her mother. A few moments later, Archie’s mother appeared on stage.
“I kind of knew something was going on though because when she wrote me and asked for Nicole’s information, Nicole is the G.I. Bill advisor at Shenandoah, so when she asked for Nicole’s information I was like okay either she’s going to come or there’s going to be a live screening on the jumbotron,” said Archie.
Sergeant First Class Quadedra Corey was also reunited with her other children
“I’ll be in the states for one week so I have to fly back to Texas and then I have two small kids. I have five children altogether. So two small ones, and then I go see them and I leave after Memorial Day,” said Corey.
Archie is a first-generation college student and she says she plans to follow in her mother’s footsteps.
“Growing up in the military, I had to do like a practicum in high school and I job shadowed physical therapists at a military hospital so there were physical therapists in the army,” said Archie.
Archie said she’s most excited that her mother will retire from the army in two years.