Graduation for ITT Tech students held weeks after school shut down

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Graduation for ITT Tech students held weeks after school shut down, Tracy Clemons reports. (KTRK)

When ITT Technical Institute was forced to shut down suddenly earlier this month, the students who have now become the school's final graduating class thought they'd lost their shining moment.

"It was very heartbreaking that we worked so hard and weren't able to graduate, and have a full formal graduation," said Patricia Ewart-Smith.

Bishop Shelton Bady at Harvest Time Church in Greenspoint says they've held graduation in his sanctuary for several years. He stepped up.

"They were scheduled to have a graduation on this particular night, this particular time, at our location. So we decided though they weren't able to continue, we were," he said.

Since the graduates already had their caps and gowns, and had already sent out invitations, Bishop Bady says it was just the right thing to do.

"It was very uplifting," Ewart-Smith said. "Like we weren't left behind, and it felt really good."

"I'm excited to walk because the walking across the stage is the icing on the cake for me," Cinee Mitchell added. "It's like I really finished. Not just saying I finished school, go home, and go to work."

"We came from St. Louis, Missouri," said an excited Denise Kelley.

Kelley's grandson, Den, is her first one to graduate college. This celebration was special to their family and their friends back home.

"They were all bumming out and I just thought this was fantastic that this was put together for him. We are so glad that he received his diploma."

These grads are moving on to their next phase. Some have already gotten there.

"I opened my own business. It's in cyber security," said Ewart-Smith.

But they worry about the students left in limbo.

"Some of them, their credits won't pass over to the next college. So they'll have to pretty much start over all again," Ewart-Smith explained.

Lone Star College is one of several schools working with those to get them across the stage next.

Helpful links:
Information about ITT concerning federal aid

How can you find a new school? The Department of Education says it might help to use this scorecard

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