Ten months ago, during her last year at Champlain Valley Technical Center in Plattsburgh, New York, Samantha Parrotte’s mother got sick. What was assumed to be a little rash ended up progressing, and Patricia Parrotte was eventually diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer and a rare autoimmune disease.
Samantha started to struggle with balancing her mom being sick and school. Her dad gave her the option to take a break from school, but Samantha refused.
"She stepped up to the plate," Todd Parrotte told WPTZ NewsChannel 5. "She busted her butt, and she excelled to make her mother and myself very proud."
Her mom’s condition worsened, though, and she wasn’t expected to live to Samantha’s graduation day.
It was Patricia’s wish to be able to see her daughter graduate, so Champlain Valley Technical Center and Saranac Community Schools worked together to perform a graduation ceremony at the hospital in Vermont. Samantha walked into her mom’s hospital room in her cap and gown with the graduation tune playing the background, and both her mom and dad got to watch the special graduation.
“I went in there and like, all of a sudden, my mom was back, you know, not having the cancer affecting her,” Samantha said.
Two days later, Patricia passed away.
Two weeks after her mom died, Samantha put on her cap and gown for a second time and graduated again. She walked across the stage during CV Tech’s graduation ceremony last Tuesday and accepted her diploma for the school’s allied health program.
“I know that she is still with me, you know, and she would want me to go to my ceremonies with my class,” Samantha said.
What she didn’t know, though, was the surprise the school had in store. She was named this year’s recipient of her program’s student excellence award.
“I couldn’t be more proud of her,” Todd said. “I know my wife is very proud also.”