CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) – “It felt so good to actually have a graduation,” said Howie Stacy.

That phrase may be common for students who were high school seniors during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The spike of the virus put a pause on big gatherings and milestone celebrations.

Back in 2020, 10 On Your Side spoke to Stacy who attended an at-home prom. He took his grandmother as his date.

“I’ve never been to a prom and my grandmother never went to her prom either,” Stacy told us.

Much like his prom, getting his high school diploma was also an unconventional event.

“We were hoping for some kind of graduation, but the only thing that he was granted in high school was just to walk up, and he had a cutout figure of his high school principal, and that was it,” said Angela Barry, Stacy’s mother.

Fast forward to three years later, in what seemed like the blink of an eye, he finished college and finally got to walk across the stage.

He graduated from Regent University in Virginia Beach on May 6, 2023.

“I don’t even know. I’m just so happy to be done. And it felt so good too. I’m just glad it didn’t rain because it was an outside graduation,” Stacy said. “I’m like, ‘please don’t let it rain on this day.’ I didn’t get one in high school. But yes, it was just wonderful; it’s still hard to believe that it’s actually over.”

Barry said she encouraged her son to walk by faith. She didn’t hold back her excitement to cheer on her son on graduation day.

“I’m just glad he redeemed himself and he’s able to just have a life and gain valuable experience while continuing along with his education,” she said.

Stacy’s graduation day was a memory best shared with his 2020 prom date, who witnessed her first grandchild graduate.

“She was very happy to have to just attend my graduation because I had been talking about it for a while and she knew that I didn’t have a high school one. And so she was just very proud,” Stacy said.

Stacy attended Regent online and graduated with his bachelor’s degree in communications with a focus on journalism. The week after graduation, he started grad school where he’s getting his master’s in journalism.