Torrence Burson is a front-runner for Father of the Year. The Memphis-native couldn’t stand to see his daughter, Gabrielle Pierce, miss out on her graduation after four years of hard work at Xavier University.
He was disappointed that he and his family wouldn’t be able to celebrate Gabrielle’s achievements, so he made a radical decision. He would throw her a private graduation.
“After all those years, you’re going to walk across somebody’s stage if I have to build you one myself,” Burson told FOX13.
Burson’s wife told him he was crazy and Pierce admitted she was skeptical at first. But, the proud father got it done.
The family printed up programs. Burson built a full stage, there were presenters, a loudspeaker blaring the graduation march, and neighbors lining the street while practicing social distancing.
The commencement drew the attention of the community and photos of the event went viral on social media.
SHOUTOUT TO THIS MEMPHIS XAVERITE!
This Xaverite from Memphis couldn’t walk across the stage this past weekend due to the pandemic. Her dad built the graduation stage in the driveway of their Southeast MEMPHIS home. CONGRATULATIONS YOUNG LADY!
From a Xaverite to another! pic.twitter.com/7THflS8XX3
— Jeremy Pierre FOX13 (@JeremypierreFOX) May 11, 2020
“She was going to walk across that stage if I had to build her one myself.”
Gabrielle Pierce was devastated when her graduation was cancelled due to COVID-19, so her dad decided to throw her one himself!
— Winnie Wright (@WinnieWrightTV) May 11, 2020
Although creating the event was no easy feat, Burson says it was worth it to make his daughter feel celebrated.
“We love our daughter this much. Regardless of the dollar figure, what it took to pull this off,” he said. “If I had to do this over again, I’d probably do it even bigger.”
Pierce said that she is a “Daddy’s girl,” and that her father often does extraordinary gestures for her. But, this event is the biggest one yet. “It was just amazing. Better than the actual graduation, because it was more personal,” said Pierce.
The graduate, ironically majored in Public Health Science for Epidemiology. She plans to enter the Air National Guard and then return to school to become an Epidemiologist. She hopes to work for the Centers for Disease Control.
With the type of family support that she has, we are sure she will be able to make all of her dreams come true.