Roxbury Community College graduates receive diplomas and $1,000

ROXBURY (CBS) — The graduates of Roxbury Community College’s class of 2022 walked across the stage to collect more than just a diploma.

Each graduate walked across the stage to receive their diploma and two envelopes; $500 for themselves and $500 to give to a family member, support, or organization that helped them out along the way.

“I feel excited and nervous,” said graduate Jennifer Mendez-Perez.

Javeriva Ahmed is the first woman in her family to receive her associates.

“I feel great and accomplished,” she said.

Both students are a part of the more than 150 who received diplomas Friday.

The ceremony featured all the graduation traditions you would expect, including music, a Valedictorian’s address, and a commencement speech.

This year, the address came from Boston businessman Robert Hale, who is part owner of the Boston Celtics.

“Give a little more than you get. You’ll be better for it. Don’t fear failure, defy failure,” Hale told the graduates.

But Hale took it further by surprising the graduates when he practiced what he preached.

“As I mentioned, the greatest joys in our life have come from giving. Today, you’re going to get a thousand bucks cash.”

After she crossed the stage, Ahmed told us she knew who she was gifting her half too.

“My father,” Ahmed said. “Because of him, I am able to graduate.”