Teacher Asks Sixth-Grader To Be Invited To Her Harvard Graduation. 21 Years Later, She Got That Invite.

"In a picture I still carry around, she told me on the last day of school that year that she would see me at my Harvard graduation."

Way back in 1997, Christin Gilmer got a comment on her sixth grade report card that she took to heart. Her teacher, Ms. Judy Toensing, had written, "It has been a joy to have you in class. Keep up the good work! Invite me to your Harvard graduation. Gold Honor Roll!"


Twenty-one years later, she was finally able to fulfill that request by inviting Ms. Toensing to her Harvard graduation.

On April 5, 2018, Gilmer wrote a Facebook post thanking all of the people in her life who supported her throughout her academic career. She thanked her parents, along with all of the educators who inspired her. The Harvard grad personally singled out Ms. Toensing.

The now 33-year-old wrote, "Of these many amazing heroes, I met one of these teachers in the sixth grade, Ms. Judy Toensing, who taught me about current events, global health, and human rights. She was the first person who passionately conveyed the plight of people living with HIV/AIDS to me and started me on this journey."

She continued, "In a picture I still carry around, she told me on the last day of school that year that she would see me at my Harvard graduation, and now I can finally invite her (21 years later) and try to show her how grateful I am to her and all of my teachers from pre-K - college."

CNN reports that Harvard school administrators saw the student's note and actually reached out to offer Ms. Toensing an invitation to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health's 2018 convocation. It was hand-delivered by Gilmer.

At the graduation, Harvard Dean Michelle Williams even called out Ms. Toensing in her speech. She recounted Gilmer's report card and revealed that Gilmer is graduating from Harvard with her Doctor in Public Health Degree. 

Toensing told CNN, "I have high expectations of all my students, so to hear that Christin had achieved this goal did not surprise me in the least." 

"I feel honored that Harvard chose to tell Christin's story, her journey, and that I was a small part of that journey."

Gilmer told Teen Vogue that she will not forget the impact her teacher had on her, "Because of Ms. Toensing, I have become a lifelong activist, an ardent supporter of political movements we are seeing thrive today specifically because of teenage activism that is going to change the world, and I am learning to be the person a girl like me needed when I was younger" ...

... "I hope I can help other young women realize that their power is limitless, too, and that so many tools of change are at their fingertips, starting with education in any way you can get it."

(H/T: Popsugar)

Cover image via  f11photo I Shutterstock


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