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Graduates express gratitude for support from family, friends

May 11, 2022
A grid with nine graduates with the words filled with gratitude
A grid with nine graduates with the words filled with gratitude

KOKOMO, Ind. — During Adam Voils’s first semester as a student at Indiana University Kokomo, he made a promise to his grandmother that he would graduate from college.

Today he fulfilled that promise.

Voils was among nearly 700 students graduating in the Commencement ceremony outdoors at the Pavilion, earning a Bachelor of General Studies. He’s grateful for the motivation his pledge to his grandmother – who was only able to attend school through third grade — gave him, saying it pushed him to keep going after she passed away during his freshman year.

His family’s care was invaluable to his success.

“They provided emotional support when I lost my grandmother and helped me get through the tough times, when things weren’t going as I wanted,” said Voils, from Jamestown. “I’m grateful to my mom and dad for helping me financially when I needed it, and for all of the good advice my grandfather gave me.”

Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke encouraged the Class of 2022 to thank their families and friends for their encouragement on their college journey, asking them to stand up to applaud them.

“All of us rely in countless ways on those who are near and dear to us,” she said. “We depend on their helping hands and their faith that we will succeed.”

Jaylin Chinn is grateful for his mother, aunts, and godmother, who were his cheerleaders as he pursued a degree in sport and recreation management while also playing basketball at IU Kokomo.

“They just always believed in me,” he said. “When I got down on myself, they stayed positive. It was never, ‘When are you going to graduate?’ It was ‘You are going to graduate.’ That was huge for me. They’re just always in my corner and made me believe in myself.”

Carleigh Feldhouse, Kokomo, appreciates extended family’s role as she earned degrees in business and informatics, saying that her mother, grandmother, and boyfriend all supported her.

“When we were stuck in COVID, I felt very isolated and alone,” she said. “I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. It was nice to have their support and know I wasn’t alone, and this was just one short chapter in a longer story. When I have a hard day, they cheer me up, telling me I’ve got this, and give me words of encouragement.”

Family, and friends who are family, helped Levi Hanny as he earned his degree in New Media, Art and Technology.

“They’ve been there anytime I felt up against it or didn’t feel like I was going to make it,” he said. “They were there rooting me on and making sure I had what I needed. It meant the world to me.”

Family — especially her eight-year-old son — provided crucial motivation to Morgan Musick as she earned a Bachelor of General Studies.

“I want to show my son that he can do this someday, too,” said Musick, from Twelve Mile. “I just keep pushing forward to do the best I can for him and give us the best life I can.”

Like Musick, Nakia Brigham was thankful for her children’s support as she worked towards her Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

“My kids were patient,” she said. “They wanted all my time, and they understood I couldn’t give it to them.”

Jakob Wilson’s parents were his key support, while he was completing his degree in education, with a minor in special education.

“They just pushed me to persevere,” the Elwood resident said. “When things were tough, they didn’t allow me to quit. They didn’t allow me to look back at what had gone badly. They helped me focus on the end goal.”

He’s also grateful to have started his first job two days before Commencement, as a resource teacher at Park Elementary School, Fairmount.

Dayis Campos is most grateful to her grandfather, even though he passed away when she was little.

“He always believed in me, and inspired me to pursue my degree, so I’m dedicating it to him,” said Campos, from Frankfort. “My business degree means the world to me, especially since I’ve supported myself financially since I was 16 and paid for my whole degree by myself.”

Jordan Sisco, from Wabash, appreciates his family’s support and prayers as he completed the RN to BSN program.

“In the beginning, they helped with my tuition payment, and they were here for the whole process, helping me study and praying for me every day,” he said. “It meant the whole world to me. I wouldn’t be here without them.”

Education is KEY at Indiana University Kokomo.

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