Reserve mother sees children go the distance

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 4, 2011

By Baileigh Rebowe


LAPLACE – Graduation day comes and goes each year, sending one class of students on their way and ringing a new one in. This year, spring graduation was extra special for local a single mother who got to see her daughter and son walk across the stage at their graduation ceremonies, overcoming years of hardships, struggles and sacrifice.

Reserve resident Sonyia McKarry raised her daughter Gabrielle and son Javis by herself, giving them everything she could and always pushing and praying for their success.

Last month Gabrielle graduated from East St. John High School, and Javis received a bachelor’s degree from Nicholls State University.

McKarry said she will never forget those moments.

“I sat at the graduations, quietly, trying to absorb what was happening. I couldn’t believe it. My prayers were being answered,” she said.

She further described the ceremonies as a huge burden being lifted off her shoulders and said she could not have been prouder of her two children.

The thought of them graduating still brings a smile to McKarry’s face, a smile she always made sure her children had, even when times got tough.

“Our family went through a lot of financial and emotional trials and tribulations, but I always told them to keep a smile on their faces and trust in the Lord,” she said.

Gabrielle agreed, adding it was her mom who lifted her spirits when she was down about circumstances around her.

McKarry said she also made a point to stress the importance of education to her children.

“I always said to succeed in life you have to get an education. I’d tell them I want you to do something I never did,” she noted.

It wasn’t always easy raising her children alone, according to the mother, but she said she has been blessed by their success in school, and “everyone is rejoicing over this.”

The road doesn’t end here for the young graduates. Gabrielle will be continuing her education at Nicholls in the fall, pursuing a career in government, and Javis is currently interviewing for different jobs, trying to put his degree to good use.

“They’re not my babies anymore,” McKarry said. “Gabby’s goal is to be a lawyer one day, and I believe she will be.”