Marine surprises her mom at commencement
Palm Beach State College celebrated its nearly 2,700 spring graduates during two commencement ceremonies Tuesday, and one graduate received an early Mother’s Day surprise from her only child.
A stunned Trina McCray burst into tears when her daughter, Sgt. Lauren Albury of the U.S. Marines, dressed in her military uniform, stepped from behind the stage as McCray’s name was called. While McCray’s parents and friends were in the audience, she thought her daughter could not attend. However, Albury, who is stationed in California, said she could not miss this special moment for her mom. She boarded a flight Monday to attend graduation and help present her mother’s Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Supervision and Management.
“I was not expecting her at all,’’ McCray, still emotional, said after the morning commencement ceremony for the combined 1,092 graduates of the Associate in Science, Bachelor of Applied Science and Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree programs and the certificate programs. State Sen. Jack. Latvala, R-Clearwater, was the keynote speaker.
McCray of Riviera Beach, who has worked for AT&T for over 25 years, had put her college education on hold to raise her daughter and ensure that she received a college education. With an associate degree already from Palm Beach State, she says the bachelor’s degree will help her advance in her career.
She had decided to start her college education after her daughter graduated from high school in 2008, but when her daughter enrolled in Hobe Sound Bible College to pursue her bachelor’s degree, McCray said she delayed her education again. “This is something that I have been wanting to do for a while, and I’m so glad that I was able to achieve it,” McCray said. “She was there every step of the way supporting me. It’s been great.”
Albury said she is pleased that Palm Beach State staff helped orchestrate the surprise when she contacted the College about extra tickets. “I want to thank Palm Beach State. I had no idea it was going to be like this. I just asked for two tickets, and then it just went from there. I’m just happy that I was able to come to support my mom on her accomplishment.”
The afternoon ceremony for the 1,603 Associate in Arts degree graduates, included 27 dual enrollment students – the largest number ever – who completed their degree while in high school. U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, a Democrat who represents Florida’s 20th District, was the keynote speaker.
Video credit: Idalia Centeno