One college graduate had two sets of “parents” from opposite ends of the world present at her commencement after she decided to use a sign-on bonus she received from a new job to fly her host family that she lived with in Cameroon to the ceremony. Molly DiLeonardi lived in Cameroon as part of Dickinson College’s cultural exchange program and says that she gained a second set of parents in the process. DiLeonardi notes that in Cameroon if you are close to someone they become part of your “family,” and that is exactly what Daniel and Rose Tchounchui’s family became to Molly when she lived with them for the spring semester. She desperately wanted the host family to attend her commencement in Pennsylvania, but money was tight for the family and they couldn’t afford the expense. However, in August, all of DiLeonardi’s wishes would be granted as she was offered a large enough sign-on bonus to fund her Cameroonian host family a trip to the U.S. to attend her graduation ceremony.
Dickinson College reports that Molly DiLeonardi lived in Cameroon with her host parents and siblings in the spring of 2014 as part of the cultural exchange program at the university. During her stay, Molly became incredibly close to her Cameroonian family and has maintained weekly contact with them after returning to the U.S. DiLeonardi says she speaks with the family on the phone every week and that she told them in one conversation that she really wished that they could attend her commencement in Pennsylvania. However, due to limited jobs and lack of funds, the family was unable to afford the transportation costs.
However, in August, Molly had her wishes answered when she was offered a job at Bank of Montreal’s Chicago branch. Molly decided to use her sign-on bonus to fund her “second parents” trip to the U.S. to attend her graduation and catch up in person.
“When I called to tell them that they would be coming to my graduation ceremony, they were ecstatic. They are extremely excited to be here, and my parents [Robert and Deborah DiLeonardi] are excited to meet them,”
In addition to funding the trip of her two host parents, Molly also had her two host siblings present at the event.
[Image Credit: Dickinson College]