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Thousands of Ashford University online graduates and guests from across the country will be at the commencement ceremony on Oct. 13. Only one will perform the national anthem.
Jennifer Taylor, earning a bachelor's degree in early childhood education, is the winner of a nationwide Ashford University competition to open the graduation ceremony with her rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner.
Students submitted audition videos, which were evaluated by the Ashford University Commencement Committee for clarity, musicality, melody, intervals and ease in relating to the audience. Top selections were posted to the Ashford University Facebook page, where students, alumni and guests voted for their favorite.
Taylor, 47, grew up in a musical household. As a youth, she sang in children's groups and choirs, and performed in musical theatre. "Over the years I've participated in many auditions, but this was the first time I'd ever done an audition via video," she said.
"My family and friends were very supportive," she added. "Winning the opportunity to sing at my graduation is kind of surreal, and I'm very excited about it."
In addition to singing and pursuing her higher education, Taylor is a teacher at Awakening Seed School, an internationally recognized educational environment for children ages 12 months through 10 years.
Taylor, an online student who has never been to the Ashford University brick-and-mortar campus, will be traveling to the rolling hills of Clinton, Iowa with her family. Her husband Don, two sons and her daughter, who range in age from 10-19, will be in attendance for her performance and to celebrate when she receives her diploma.
Taylor looks forward to experiencing the traditional campus, meeting her online classmates face-to-face for the first time, and sharing her accomplishments with family, friends and fans.
Here is Jennifer Taylor's award-winning national anthem audition video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Y6fhS1yec8
About Ashford University
Where heritage meets innovation – that’s Ashford University. At Ashford, students discover relevant degree programs, innovative technology, and cherished tradition. Ashford offers associates, bachelors, and master’s online degree programs, while the Clinton, Iowa campus offers bachelor’s programs. Whether on campus or online, Ashford students enjoy the same supportive community. For more information, please visit ashford.edu or call Shari Winet Rodriguez, Vice President of Public Relations, at 858.513.9240 x2513.