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Ohio State University Student Holds His Commencement In A Living Room

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

It is graduation season and Trent Johnson Jr. was ready to strut across the stage for his medical degree when he got some news.

TRENT JOHNSON JR: I got an email, and it said, graduation canceled. And my heart just, like, sank. I went into my bedroom, and I cried - like, boohoo-type cried.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

He's a 29-year-old student at the Ohio State University, and he says his mom called to cheer him up.

JOHNSON: And she said to me, this does not negate the fact that you've worked so hard to get here. We are going to do everything in our power to make this day special for you.

CHANG: His parents ordered decorations online. But they didn't arrive in time, so they made do with what they had.

JOHNSON: We actually used two tablecloths to make that backdrop. And we used balloons, and we, like, taped them to the background.

SHAPIRO: After pulling over a few potted plants, the stage was set, and Johnson strolled towards it in full cap, sash and gown.

JOHNSON: As I came down the hallway, my emotions just transformed from this is weird and odd; this is my family, my mom's face, the camera - to like OK, this is real. And I just totally broke down.

(CHEERING)

JOHNSON: Those experiences from that day are something that I'll never forget. And I don't think that there's any formal graduation that could top what happened in that living room.

CHANG: Trent Johnson Jr. starts his internship at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore in just a few weeks. From all of us here at NPR, congratulations.

(SOUNDBITE OF EDWARD ELGAR'S "POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCE MARCH NO. 1") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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