Four senior softball players at West Virginia State University thought they forfeited the opportunity to walk at graduation when their team qualified for the NCAA Division II Atlantic Regional Tournament in Shippensburg, Pa.
"The seniors knew pretty early on in the season the dates of the regional tournament, and we were set on making regionals," said Kelsey Lorraine, 21, of Demorest, Ga. "But we bought our caps and gowns just in case - to have that experience."
Those four black gowns did not go to waste.
West Virginia State University President Brian Hemphill didn't want these four seniors who were out representing the university on an athletic front to miss out on a special academic achievement.
"It was a surprise," Lorraine said. "We had already missed the graduation ceremony, so we thought we'd just pick up our diplomas and go on our way. But we were sitting at dinner and got a call saying we'd get our own littler ceremony."
Lorraine, as well as Adrienne Ramey, Sara Pelegreen and Desiree Giffin, received a personal ceremony on May 13 - just two days after graduation.
"It was really cool because we didn't think we were going to get to walk at all, and to get that experience - you look forward to that your whole career in college. It was really exciting to get both softball and graduation when we thought we'd only get one."
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