Grad gets special ceremony
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 14, 2016
LaGRANGE — On graduation day, seniors typically walk onto the field at Callaway Stadium, take a seat in their designated chair, reflect on their high school career during speaker presentations and wait for their name to be called so they can shake hands with their principal and the Superintendent. They are also surrounded by a host of family and friends.
While graduation morning on May 28 started out in a similar fashion for Brittany Beasley, now a LaGrange High School graduate, the day ended quite differently. For Beasley, her reflection of the ceremony was a little nostalgic because her mother could not attend the ceremony at Callaway Stadium. Instead, she was in West Georgia Hospice due to a cancer diagnosis that had her too weak to get out of bed.
Both Brittany and her mom, Regina Beasley, looked forward to this day. It seemed as if her mother would not get to take part in the graduation festivities — until the counselors and administrators at LaGrange High arranged to do something to make this honor more memorable.
After the graduation ceremony finished at Callaway Stadium, officials would show up at West Georgia Hospice and hold a special ceremony in the elder Beasley’s room so she could see her daughter graduate.
“I’ve been at LaGrange High for almost 10 years and this is the first time we have had a ceremony at Hospice,” said Laura Dodson, LaGrange High School counselor. “This was very important to Brittany and her mom. Her mom has been looking forward to this for a very long time, and we were very sad that she wasn’t able to make it. We, as a staff, decided that we would come over to Hospice so her mom could participate in this big event for Brittany.”
And a big event is what it was. More than 20 TCSS staff members, including Superintendent Cole Pugh and LaGrange High Principal Alton White, along with Brittany’s aunts, cousins, grandmother and friends overtook the entrance of the facility to begin the graduation march.
As “Pomp and Circumstance” filled the hallways, everyone in attendance filed into Regina Beasley’s room where Pugh conferred Beasley’s diploma and Dodson announced her name so she could claim the diploma from White.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” Pugh said. “I knew her mother was not feeling well, but to see the smile and the tears she shed as Brittany accepted her diploma was touching. Every parent wants to see their child graduate. It was a good experience, and I am glad we could make this special for the family.”
Around LaGrange High and THINC College & Career Academy, where Beasley has taken certified nursing assistant — CNA — courses, she is known as a prompt and dependable student who exceeds expectations in her efforts to attain goals.
“My mother was a CNA working at The Brown Center,” Beasley said. “When I saw her working, I knew that’s what I wanted to do.”
Oftentimes, she would be seen taking a cab to school to ensure she was on time.
“Brittany is an awesome student,” Dodson said. “She has gone the extra mile and has been involved in dual enrollment. At times, she even provided her own transportation so she could be in the CNA program. She has exceeded our expectations in the efforts she has made.”
When her mom became ill, she used much of her training from THINC to help nurse her when needed. But, as cancer continued to quickly spread through Regina Beasley’s body, her daughter could no longer care for her on her own.
“When my mom was diagnosed, (counselor) Mrs. Dodson was really there for me,” Brittany Beasley said. “When I needed someone to help me as my mother became more ill, Mrs. Fain, my CNA teacher, got us involved in the hospice program. My family has been really supportive, but it’s also been hard. Today has made it better.”
On Thursday, Regina Beasley passed away from the disease while in hospice. Brittany Beasley plans to continue working toward her registered nurse degree at West Georgia Tech so she can help take care of others. She is already a step ahead of her peers because she obtained her CNA certification while attending high school.
“It is special to have everyone from the school and district here to make this special for me, my mom, and my family,” Beasley said in the hallway outside of her mom’s room on graduation day. “It shows that there is somebody out there that cares for me.”
To learn more about Troup County School System, please visit troup.org or our Facebook page at Troup County School System.