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Mom finds a wholesome way to keep her 10-day-old baby close to her during graduation ceremony

The mom was reluctant to leave her newborn behind when she was attending her graduation ceremony, so she came up with an interesting solution.

Mom finds a wholesome way to keep her 10-day-old baby close to her during graduation ceremony
Cover Image Source: YouTube | WOOD TV8

Walking along with fellow students at the graduation ceremony of Ferris State University, located in Michigan's Big Rapids, was Grace Szymchack's dream. She had worked hard to earn her degree and was determined to walk up the podium and receive what was rightfully hers. However, fate had other plans for the 24-year-old student, who had also become a new mom just a few days before the ceremony.



 

"Annabelle decided to come early on December 6," Szymchack told the representative of Ferris State University. "But I'd worked hard for this degree and I was determined to walk with the rest of my class," she added. Szymchack did not want to leave behind her 10-day-old infant to attend the ceremony or miss the event. According to NBC Affiliate WOOD-TV, Szymchack consulted her mother, who told her to strap her infant daughter under her graduation robe so no one would notice it. "So I just kept her with me," she told the outlet.



 

In a picture released by the university's website, the new mom can be seen sitting down and smiling. She has donned her matching black cap and gown and a glimpse of her infant is visible as the little one remains strapped to her mom's chest. Szymchack revealed that not many people noticed the baby beneath her robes at the ceremony because her daughter was extremely well-behaved and didn't make a sound.

Szymchack also revealed that she had a scheduled C-section surgery, but the baby decided to come earlier than the scheduled date. The mom and student received her bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education, magna cum laude, as her husband Caleb and the rest of her family cheered for her at the ceremony. The 24-year-old had worked for six long years on her degree while balancing classes, work, marriage and motherhood. Szymchack, who was born and raised in Traverse City, always longed to become a teacher.



 

While studying to earn her associate degree in early childhood development at Northwestern Michigan College, Szymchack also started working for the Great Start Readiness Program and is currently a full-time employee in a Strong Beginnings program, which is a Munson Healthcare public preschool for 3-year-olds. She enrolled at the Ferris State Student Success Hub in Traverse City at Northwestern Michigan College in 2019 and welcomed her first daughter, Isabelle, in 2022.

"I had quite a few classes there when I started, but then COVID hit and all of a sudden, they were all completely online," she said about the Student Success Hub, which is one of the five sites around Michigan that Ferris State is planning to provide academics and support services to students from all age group who can't attend the main campus in Big Rapids and other regions. "I found that more manageable because then I could take classes at home and also take care of my daughter. My professors were great about making our learning based on what I was doing in the classroom."



 

“I was able to take the lesson from the day before and apply it straight to my kiddos. I love working with the littles the best. I feel like I can make an impact there,” she concluded. Szymchack currently works at a local hospital teaching a preschool class and she aspires to consider getting her Master's degree but would wait for her children to grow up a bit before she goes back to school, as per Fox 59.



 

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