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Grambling State Student Overcomes Paralysis to Walk Across Graduation Stage

Graduation Candidate Arhonda Smith Shares Her Story of Overcoming a Stroke While Earning Her Degree

GRAMBLING, La. – Grambling State criminal justice major, Arhonda Smith knew something wasn’t right when she suddenly couldn’t walk without staggering the morning of December 3, 2018. After receiving emergency medical attention, Smith learned she had had a stroke, lost the use of her right arm, and was warned that she would never walk again.

I prayed and asked God to deliver me,” said Smith, who was at the time scheduled to graduate in May 2019. “I heard Him say, ‘Snap out of it. I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

After being airlifted to Shreveport for 17 days of intensive treatment, then transferred to Glenwood where she could only eat through a feeding tube for several weeks, Smith experienced a breakthrough.

Smith was no longer using a wheelchair by February 2019. She was determined to complete her criminal justice coursework and graduate with her Bachelor’s degree. Smith recalls the support of her professors as she worked to regain full mobility of her right arm using only her left hand to type and complete assignments.

“All of my professors including Dr. Singh, Dr. Conley, Dr. Thomason and Dr. Threadcraft were very understanding and supportive,” said Smith, “Dr. Threadcraft said that she wished all students in the class were like me because I always turned my work in early.”

Criminal Justice is one of the University’s leading programs and Grambling State is a top state-wide producer of African American graduates in the field. With continued improvement in her health, Smith hopes to use her education to open a Safe House for Women after obtaining her degree.

“I would encourage anyone who is going through hard times to stay positive, stay strong, have faith,” said Smith.

Smith will join more than 360 Grambling State University graduates who will collect their diploma Friday, December 13 at 10 a.m. in the Frederick C. Hobdy Assembly Center.

Courtesy: GSU Media

Written by GramFam Editor

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