When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down senior living communities around the country, it also shut down graduation plans for many of their student workers.

English Meadows student graduation

English Meadows senior living community in Blacksburg, VA, had five student caregivers who were supposed to attend proms and graduations and enjoy the celebrations of their educational achievements. When those plans were sidelined by the pandemic, the senior living staff stepped in to provide a graduation experience complete with caps and gown, diplomas and a celebration.

Two college seniors — Bryn Burns, a dining server from Virginia Tech who earned a degree in statistics, and Brooke Stump, a certified nursing assistant who earned a degree in psychology from Radford University — and three high school seniors — Grace Bishop and Caitlin Kendrick, CNAs from Auburn High School, and Olivia Collins, a CNA from Giles High School — participated in the graduation ceremony.

Families, staff and residents attended the ceremony, which featured remarks from Assistant Director of Nursing Mariam Dean and English Meadows founder and CEO Mike Williams, who also delivered “diplomas.” 

Bishop and Stump plan to attend nursing school in the fall.

Click here to see the In Focus archive and read how to submit your photos for consideration.