For nearly a week I’ve been celebrating and crying a lot of tears of joy. Although I formally completed my doctoral degree in August 2017 and received my degree in December, the University of Virginia doesn’t have a December graduation. After reflecting on the long journey that led to my degree, I decided to participate in the May ceremonies. On Thursday, my school surprised me with “Dr. Floyd Day” to celebrate my graduation and I can’t express how much this meant to me. My principal, the faculty and staff, and students collaborated to provide such a memorable day. Students performed reader’s theater for me, read poems about reading, and sang songs about reading while we all enjoyed cake. I cried a lot:)
On Saturday, I participated in the doctoral hooding ceremony. Sitting in the auditorium, listening to the speakers, hearing the words that my advisor had written about me, wearing the robe and hat made everything seem real for the first time. Following the ceremony, those of us who pursued reading education gathered together with the professors who guided our journeys. Marcia Invernizzi and Mary Abouzeid are two of my heroes and being able to learn from them was an incredible experience.
The excitement and celebrations continued. After the hooding ceremony, I was honored to be installed as the Vice President of the Virginia State Reading Association (via Facebook video chat). Being a part of VSRA and my local council, SVRC, has meant a lot to me both professionally and personally. I’ve met so many incredible people and I have learned so much from them all. However, my VSRA friends had more than installation planned for me. They surprised me with the Nancy King Leadership award. Again, I cried:) I’m still so overwhelmed by this!
Sunday brought another road trip to Charlottesville for the Lawn and Curry ceremonies, reminding me of the many trips I made over the years. I remembered those late nights, navigating the interstate, sometimes with the radio blaring, while other times, the car was quiet when I was lost in my thoughts. While those days were demanding, they were also some of the best days because I learned so much from both my professors and my classmates.
The Lawn ceremony was amazing and I’m not sure that I have the words to describe it. I had goosebumps as I stepped onto the Lawn with the Rotunda behind me. The picture above shows the view behind me (I was lucky enough to be among the first in line). Watching the graduates from all of the different schools was a breathtaking sight. One of my favorite moments from the ceremony involved the newly-minted MDs. When Dr. Sullivan conferred the degrees on the nursing students, the doctors stood and applauded them. That made me tear-up again!
The Curry School of Education’s ceremony followed the Lawn ceremony. After a mad dash from the Lawn to the John Paul Jones arena, I took my place in line and attempted to catch my breath and get my mind off of my aching feet. However, I got my second wind and forgot my feet when we walked into the arena and before I knew it, I walked across the stage and received my ceremonial scroll (the actual diploma has been on my wall since the end of January).
Although I was exhausted at the end of the day, it was an experience that I will never forget. It was definitely worth the wait!