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'The best feeling': Woman in labor walks across graduation stage, gets degree

Henry Ford College graduate receives degree before having baby
Posted at 10:36 PM, May 11, 2023

DEARBORN, Mich. (WXYZ) — A Dearborn woman had an extraordinary college graduation after she went into labor during her school's ceremony last weekend.

This happened at Henry Ford College on May 6.

The amount of walking that can be done on a graduation day is what worried Kelsey Hudie and is why she eventually spoke up. Walking can speed up the labor process, according to the National Institute of Health.

"Nothing was going to stop me from walking that stage — like 100% — even if I had her first," Hudie said.

But last Saturday, Hudie’s educational goals collided with her aspirations of motherhood. She was 38 weeks pregnant and dilated as she sat with fellow graduates at Henry Ford College.

She committed herself for five years working toward an associate degree in education. Hudie was chasing a high she once felt as a teen.

"When I graduated from high school — apart from having her — that was the best day of my life, and I had the best feeling walking across that stage to get my diploma because it was this feeling of achievement that I had finally done it," she said.

Hudie wanted to prove to herself and to baby Nyla she could do it. 

People at Henry Ford College were willing to accommodate during the ceremony.

"We care so deeply about our students that we want to meet them where they are," Henry Ford College President Russell Kavalhuna said at the commencement.

He explained Hudie’s situation to the audience.

"There's a few things more important than this college degree, and that’s the thing she’s got to get to. So, I hope you will allow me to quickly move through one degree before we get to the rest of you all," Kavalhuna said.

Baby Nyla came into the world three days after graduation. It’s a journey she can't wait to share with her daughter when she’s older.

"I hope one day she just knows how special she is. Even without the graduating and everything, I’ve wanted to be a mom for so long, so I’m just so happy," Hudie said.

Hudie is planning to continue her studies at Eastern Michigan University. Her goal is to become a history teacher at Edsel Ford High School.