LU grad photos inspire thousands

A Lamar University student's graduation photos are inspiring thousands online after she found a way to pay homage to her parents who sadly were not able to be there for the journey.

Sequoia Smith's graduation photos, which featured pictures of her mother and father who passed away, are receiving thousands of "likes" and "shares" online.

"People are saying thank you for sharing your story," says Smith. "It's so inspiring and encouraging."

Smith's parents died within just a few years of each other.

"You just feel like the world is against you," says the Public Health major. "You experience so much turmoil. So many trials and tribulations."

Smith's father passed away of Sickle Cell Anemia weeks before she graduated from high school.

Her mom was later diagnosed with cervical cancer, and died in the middle of her college career.

"It was like back-to-back with two very prominent people in my life.," says Smith.

While Smith was tempted to stay out of school after a taking a break from it, she knew that her parents would have wanted her to accomplish her goal of graduating from college.

Smith is now just weeks away from graduating, and she thanks her friends for being by her side.

"It's been a true journey for like the way everything has played out for her really," says Ronisha Elam, who gave Smith the idea to take the unique graduation photos. "I'm glad she's graduating with a degree."

The lives of Smith's parents inspired her to major in Public Health, and she's glad her pictures are now giving inspiration to others.

"I know that I'm not the only person who has experienced this, and I felt like this was my opportunity to let people know that it is possible no matter what you experience," says Smith.

Smith graduates May 11.

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