May 29, 2020
By Julie Murphy, executive vice president of People, Walmart U.S.
For Joe Warner from Store 2069 in Medford, Oregon, this spring was supposed to be a very special time. A member of the National Honor Society, Joe was scheduled to graduate - a culmination of a lot of hard work and dedication.
Same with AnnaBella Anchondo from Store 1881 in Sacramento. Her graduation was going to be a milestone moment that symbolized achievement in the face of adversity. In 2019, during her senior year, AnnaBella unexpectedly lost her hearing and had her entire world change.
Molly Smithes works at Store 3053 in Everett, Washington. She’s been taking college-level courses to gain early college credits.
For Joe, AnnaBella, Molly and millions of people across the country, this isn’t how they pictured their graduation, which for many is the biggest milestone in their lives to date. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, they won’t be able to walk across the stage in front of family to receive their diplomas or celebrate with friends.
Every year Walmart has thousands of store associates graduate. But this year, we knew we needed to do what we could to help make the milestone extra special. We believe graduation is an accomplishment that deserves to be celebrated and we are doing just that for many of our associates across the country on Wednesday, June 3.
On Wednesday, Walmart U.S. stores and Sam’s Clubs across the country are honoring all our graduating associates and recognizing the hard work they have put in throughout the course of their education. Graduates are being recognized across the country with tributes in stores that include special shoutouts from their managers and Walmart leadership, a tribute from the Walmart radio DJs, and celebrations pulled together by their teams like in-store graduation parades and special luncheons.
As they close this chapter in their lives, they will be moving on to another one. Joe has plans to attend the Oregon Institute of Technology in the fall to study engineering. Molly plans to volunteer for five months at a safe shelter for survivors of domestic violence in Kenya. AnnaBella is hopeful she’ll be able to complete her cochlear implant process once restrictions lift.
We are so proud of our graduating associates in the class of 2020 and feel honored to celebrate them. Please join us in celebrating the hardworking senior class and their accomplishments!