DENVER (CBS4) – A sailor deployed overseas traveled halfway around the world to surprise his mother as received her degree from the University of Colorado Denver.
When Beth Ann Rozinek took the stage Saturday afternoon at the CU Denver commencement ceremony she had no idea her son was watching.
“The last time I saw my mom? A little over a year and a half ago,” said Navy Fire Control man, Zac Drake.
“There aren’t words I can say how proud I am of my mom,” Drake said. ”I want to be there for her graduation no matter what.”
Hidden in a sea of 2,000 graduates, the Navy man waited through a sea of graduates before watching his mom cross the stage.
“She’s going to cry. I know for a fact she’s going to cry,” Zac said.
“Thank you for coming,” said the teary-eyed graduate as she squeezed her son.
“I’m so proud of you mother,” Drake said, burying his face into her shoulder.
“I don’t’ think it’s real yet,” Rozinek said after a few long moments of hugging her son. “I can’t even explain it. It means so much to have everybody together. “
Rozinek’s path to graduation wasn’t been an easy road.
“I started back to school five years ago working full time,” Rozinek says.
“She did this when she was working full time and having four boys and a husband,” said Rozinek’s mother, Kathy Doris, who was also surprised by Drake’s homecoming.
“Work, kids, school, trying to get it all in. I’m so proud of her,” Drake added.
“It was hard but it is gratifying to say, ‘Okay, I have experience, but I also have this (diploma),” Rozinek said.
Both mother and son say the months of planning for Drake’s surprise homecoming was well worth it.
“It worked out better than I expected was going to happen,” Drake said.
“It’s overwhelming whenever I see him. I can’t even explain that,” Rozinek said.
Rozinek accepted her bachelor’s degree in business administration. Drake will be in Colorado for one month before moving to the NASA test facility in Virginia.