Publish Date

Emond Virgil stands wearing a graduation cap and gown, as well as a black stole with gold trim.

Emond Virgil graduated from FTCC’s Adult High School program on May 17, 2024.

Emond Virgil of Holly Springs graduated from FTCC on May 17, 2024, from FTCC’s Adult High School program. The 47-year-old’s educational journey was derailed when he witnessed a traumatizing act of violence as a teenager. Despite enjoying professional success as a business owner, Virgil wanted to earn his high school diploma as a gift to his family.

*Content warning: This post contains a description of gun violence and mention of suicide.*

“I went back after 30-something years to get my high school diploma to give this to my parents. I lost my father on the journey back in September. But I didn’t give up, so I’m here today with my family. We’re just trying to get through this without too many emotions.

“When I was 16, someone got shot in the head in front of me. It messed me up mentally, so I wasn’t able to focus. A couple of years later, the medication that I was on caused me to attempt suicide. I wasn’t able to regain that focus. So I just went on through life, owned my business, worked for myself. I’ve never been a failure; I just didn’t have a high school diploma. So I wanted to finish this race and be able to give it to my parents. I lost my father along the way, so it’s been kind of rough. But I made it, and he’s with me today.

“My parents never asked me to go back. I did this on my own. This is my gift back to them. I had to find a why. You have to find that purpose. Some people are here today or coming back because they’re trying to find a job. My situation is different. I already have my career working for myself, so I had to find that why. My why is to give it to my parents and give it to my family.”