Thursday’s graduation ceremony was unforgettable for Toowoomba local Grace Scanlon, whose father was able to attend after 10 months of separation.
Due to border closures over the past year, the 22-year-old Bond University graduate was unsure whether her Hong Kong-based father could attend her graduation in person.
After months of battling Covid-19 restrictions, the good news finally came.
“I wasn’t sure he was actually coming until he was literally on the plane,” she said.
“I feel completely elated with happiness and joy.
“He’s been my number one supporter, alongside my mother, throughout my entire university degree, so to have him here has been incredible.”
Her father, Simon Scanlon, works as a flight technical officer for Cathay Pacific Airways. Since August 2020, Mr Scanlon has not been able to return to Australia.
“It’s been touch and go for a while as to whether I could get down,” he said.
"I’ve been tied up due to Covid-19 restrictions and not knowing whether I could quarantine going back to Hong Kong.”
Despite these initial challenges, Mr Scanlon is glad he could watch his daughter collect her Bachelor of International Relations/Bachelor of Laws degree.
“I wouldn't have missed it for the world,” he said.
“The couple of weeks I've been home was well and truly worth it.”
For Ms Scanlon, being reunited with her family has given her a sense of “completeness” on her special day.
“As a family who’s quite close-knit, to have all of us back in the same country, let alone the same state is something that really consumes you,” she said.
“I did shed a couple of tears, but they were really tears of happiness and joy in the fact our family is complete again.”