A record-breaking crowd of 3,624 graduates awaited the Pima Community College commencement at Tucson Convention Center's arena Thursday.
"I congratulate all the grads," said Tony Vasquez as he stood in TCC's exhibition hall. He knew that one of the graduates, his wife Martha, would be in for a surprise. He watched as his daughter, Leanna, surprised Martha by appearing in the hall. Leanna had been aboard the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier.
"I just talked to her this morning and she said, ‘I'm sorry, Mom,'" Martha B. Vasquez explained.
"I was at the airport," Leanna Vasquez said.
"And it's great. I haven't seen her for about a year," Martha said.
"I knew my mom was graduating and this is the most important thing to her, so I was like, ‘I have to be there," and had been trying to put in for leave and I couldn't, so I told her that I couldn't," Leanna explained. "But then I tried again, and then it got approved, but I wanted to keep it a surprise."
The family got to see Martha receive her associate degree to translate between English and Spanish.
"I was raising my kids, so it's never late. It's never late. I will continue," Martha said.
"It's in her dream to complete the college career that she's worked for, and now she did, and I'm really grateful and glad my daughter was able to be here," Tony said.
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