New mom tucks her baby into her college graduation gown at ceremony

Ferris State Universit graduate Grace Szymchack tucked her 10-day-old daugher, Annabelle, into her gown and received here degree on Dec. 15.
Ferris State University

A 24-year-old Michigan mom thought she had the perfect plan to balance her upcoming graduation and the arrival of her second child. Grace Szymchack intended to receive her degree during Ferris State University’s Dec. 15 commencement ceremony. Then, a few days later, she’d go to the hospital and welcome her new baby to the family on her Dec. 18 due date.

However, babies can’t read calendars and choose instead to set their own schedules.

“Annabelle decided to come early on Dec. 6,” she told the university shortly after graduation. “But, I’d worked hard for this degree, and I was determined to walk with the rest of my class…so I just brought her to graduation with me.”

In fact, the proud graduate and new mom tucked her 10-day-old daughter into her graduation gown.

MORE: New mom walks in graduation ceremony the day after giving birth

In addition to little Annabelle, Szymchack’s husband Caleb and older daughter Isabelle celebrated the special occasion at the university’s fall commencement ceremony. Szymchack posted a photo of her family of now-four to her Facebook page:

Following one of her scheduled pre-natal doctor visits, Szymchack suspected her new daughter might not wait until after graduation.

“The doctor made it sound like she didn’t think I was going to make it to the 18th, so we were just hoping that she’d come early either enough that I could still walk or right after graduation,” she told ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

Szymchack, already the mom daughter Isabelle born in 2022, said it was important for her to participate in the graduation ceremony because of all the work she’d put in to get her degree.

MORE: Mom, Dad and daughter all graduate from college together

Szymchack earned an Associate’s degree in early childhood development from Northwestern Michigan College and started working full-time as a preschool teacher. She then pursued a four-year degree with Ferris State University online while continuing to work.

“I definitely found that more manageable because then I could take classes at home and also take care of my daughter,” she told Ferris State.

Szymchack told GMA she didn’t want to be away from her new baby, so the decision to bring her to graduation was natural. She also said she hoped that her accomplishments would inspire other women, especially the parents of the preschoolers she works with as part of a state-funded program in Michigan.

“I just hope it inspires other moms of my students to go back and finish the degree that they want or to start the degree they’ve been hoping for,” she said.

MORE: 10 college graduation gifts that are better than cash

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About the Author
Marie Rossiter
Marie is a freelance writer and content creator with more than 20 years of experience in journalism. She lives in southwest Ohio with her husband and is almost a full-fledged empty nest mom of two daughters. She loves music, reading, word games, and Walt Disney World.

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