BATON ROUGE- Virginia College in Baton Rouge had its last graduation commencement service because of one man’s determination. Graduation that many thoughts would never happen after the school abandons its plans to host a commencement ceremony due to the school’s loss of accreditation. In a packed-out room, more than 1600 people came to view the final commencement ceremony of Virginia College.
Over 300 students made the final walk as Virginia College saw its last graduation commencement ceremony before the school closed its doors permanently.
One man was determined to host a commencement ceremony despite the school’s closure and opposition from top school administrators.
Daniel Banguel, the founder and CEO of the Louisiana Educational Advancement Project, a non-profit dedicated to empowering kids in at-risk communities to pursue higher education, wants the community to support the students, faculty, and staff during this uncertain time. Banguel says he feels the students have been mistreated.
The community organizer had an impressive list of speakers at the ceremony including Louisiana’s Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. Km Hunter Reed
“I invited the Commissioner because I wanted to motivate the graduates that they too can get to her level with hard work, determination, and perseverance,” said Banguel.
The Commissioner gave an address stating the importance of education in the state of Louisiana, she also gave charged to all graduates by saying to them, “we need your talents more than ever.”
Banguel was amazed how grateful each one was to him due to his hard work in making the commencement ceremony happen.
“This is what being a servant leader is all about, being able to build up my community by offering up my talents and abilities. I am so excited that I was in a position to make this happen for them,” said Banguel.
The community organizer realized that crossing the stage means more than just receiving a diploma for some of the graduates.
“This will be the highlight of some of the graduate’s lives, and I am proud to be a part of that,’ said Banguel.
In a packed out room full of cheers and emotions, graduates chimed in their appreciation for the community organizer.
Jasmine Webster, a Virginia College graduate, expressed her gratitude as she attempted to hold back the tears, “It’s just nice that Mr. Daniel took out the time to do this for us.”
Many graduates were relieved that their accomplishments did not go unnoticed as their hard work was cemented with a magical graduation commencement ceremony.
Local City Officials applauded the work that was done by the organizer by presenting him a certificate of appreciation. One certificate was presented by East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome and the other was presented by Louisiana Senator Regina Barrow on behalf of the Louisiana Senate.
As Virginia College closed its doors across the nation, Banguel has one final lesson that he wanted the graduates to learn.
“Always remember where you come from, as you get your diploma, and degrees always remember to turn back and extend your hand and help up the next person coming behind you’, said Banguel.
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