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Proud Immigrant Parents Presented With Cap, Gown and Diploma by Their Graduate Son as a Thank You for Their Sacrifices

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A proud first-generation college grad brought his dad to tears when he surprised his parents by presenting them with his cap, gown and diploma as a thank-you for their sacrifices.


As a first-generation student in the U.S., Ivan Hernandez, 21, from Houston, Texas, admitted he was unsure of how to pursue a bachelor’s degree.

But in his senior year of high school, Ivan was offered the opportunity to have a full-ride scholarship at Graceland University, in Lamoni, Iowa.

He said the prospect of moving some 700 miles away and out of state was daunting as such experiences were unknown to his parents.

But he went through with the opportunity, and, having completed his bachelor’s this year, decided to plan a special surprise for his parents on graduation day.

Ivan wanted to pay homepage to his supportive parents – mom Alma and dad Aurelio – and so, on April 28, at his commencement ceremony, Ivan readied himself for the big surprise.


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When he first presented his father with his diploma and cap, Aurelio immediately burst into tears of pride, sobbing on his son’s shoulder.

He continued to weep as Ivan wrapped his gown around his mom in an emotional video that was later shared online.

He said: “I knew I wanted to recognize my parents right after my ceremony, so I knew I had to make sure I symbolized their efforts in allowing me the opportunity to have the advantage to educate myself.


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“In the moment of the video, I was really nervous, I’ve never been the child that does an adult thing; I’m the baby, so I’m usually the one that gets the attention.

“So, I was shy at first, but I knew I had to show them that my accomplishments were not only mine but also theirs.

“In seeing my parents’ reactions, I felt like I really accomplished something huge in their eyes.

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“The response to my video surprised me immensely as it reached countries all over the world.

“Education doesn’t have boundaries; education is something that is offered to students worldwide.

“To be able to upload a video that millions of people either relate to or empathize with brings such a heartwarming feeling.”

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