Richie Sambora’s daughter, Ava, is sad to miss her college graduation

Bon Jovi’s Richie Sambora has one child, a daughter, Ava, who is 22 (her mom is Heather Locklear). Ava was supposed to graduate from Loyola Marymount University in May, but with the current Stay At Home orders in place, it looks like Ava’s, and all US graduating seniors, will not have a graduation ceremony. While speaking to People, Richie said Ava had worked really hard academically and was pretty upset she won’t be crossing that stage for her diploma.

As schools remain closed amid coronavirus-related shutdowns, the class of 2020 is facing the reality that they’ll be finishing up their senior year remotely — and graduating without the usual fanfare.

Richie Sambora says his daughter Ava, a college senior, is in that same boat.

“She’s a little bit bummed because, you know, she was graduating in May, and now the whole pomp and circumstance of the whole graduation thing is off,” Sambora, 60, tells PEOPLE exclusively.

During Ava’s time at Loyola Marymount University, “she really kicked ass,” he says. “She made the Dean’s list every year and all of that other stuff, so she was really looking forward to her graduation.”

Ava, 22, whose mom is Heather Locklear, is currently quarantining with her dad, the rock legend and Bon Jovi guitarist, at his Southern California home.

“We’re healthy and happy. She’s upstairs. She’s doing homework,” he says. “But this was a little hard on her. They just packed her ass up [and sent everybody home], you know?”

As the family prepares to celebrate Ava’s milestone virtually — “I’m sure they’ll do a real graduation at a later date,” Sambora says.

[From People]

I mentioned before that graduating was a huge deal to me, even if the ceremony was not. So I do feel for those who wanted the big ceremony to mark their accomplishment. And it sounds like Ava worked really hard, remaining on the Dean’s List “every year”. She was probably going to graduate with honors and maybe on the Presidents List, so yes, I definitely understand her disappointment not to don her ribbons and sashes. (Plus, I used to live about two miles from LMU – their graduation ceremony is beautiful.) As Richie said, colleges and high schools may have alternate ceremonies but it’s not quite the same, is it? I understand that things are how they are right now and none of us can do anything about it, but it’s also okay to be a little bummed about what we’re missing, especially if it was a once-in-a-lifetime event.

I know there’s currently a call on Twitter to have Pres. Obama give a virtual graduation speech to all graduates in the US. Whereas I think he’s a wonderful choice, I imagine he wouldn’t want to overshadow Joe Biden right now. But I love the idea of having a virtual commencement speech, maybe one for high school seniors and one for college seniors. I can’t think who would be best to give them, though.

Last thing, Richie did something really cool when he called Megyn Kelly’s son Yates after he found out that Yates’ music teacher died from complications with COVID-19. Apparently, Richie and Yates have hung out a lot and it really buoyed Yates’ spirits after losing someone so dear to him. And I think that’s lovely, but when and how did Richie and Megyn become “really good friends?”

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120 days until graduation 🎓

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Photo credit: WENN/Avalon and Instagram

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32 Responses to “Richie Sambora’s daughter, Ava, is sad to miss her college graduation”

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  1. Mellie says:

    My middle daughter is graduating (well, actually did graduate, her school is one of the only in the nation that allowed the kids to graduate early so they could get a jump on submitting their paperwork to the state in order to take the state board exam) from pharmacy school this year and this just really was an anti-climactic end for six years of hard work for her and her class. She gets it, I get it, but it just really stinks for all of them.

    • Eleonor says:

      We all get it, we understand and we do our best, and I think we have all the right to be pissed for something: we are all humans. It’s an achievement for youd daughter congrats to her!

      • Mellie says:

        Many thanks! She has the best attitude about it. She said she would rather be missing this than to have missed her senior prom and H.S. graduation like so many of our high schoolers are dealing with right now. Those poor kiddos.

  2. Becks1 says:

    I’m sure this is really hard for all graduates right now. My kid is in elementary school, so I keep thinking of the 5th graders. Obviously that’s very different than graduating college, but there is still so much that happens at the end of 5th grade for those kids and its sad to think that it will never happen.

    I walked in both ceremonies (undergrad and law school) but it wasn’t super meaningful to me; what WAS meaningful was that general time, because it was so emotional as the end of an era in my life. I spent so much time going out of my way to just hang out with friends and hit up all the old haunts and such. It kind of gave a sense of closure to the experience. I have wonderful (sad, but wonderful) memories from those times, I’m sure its really hard for current seniors to not have that sense of closure.

    • Case says:

      Agreed. I don’t think I’d necessarily miss walking at the graduation ceremony. But during that time I had celebratory meals with family, a graduation party/attended friends’ parties, etc. It makes me very sad that graduates won’t have those experiences with friends and family for quite some time.

  3. Ali says:

    I hate ceremonies. Happy she graduated and is with her dad.

    • Sojaschnitzel says:

      Same. Didn’t attend any of mine, neither school nor uni. Just mail me the diploma, thanks.

    • Kelly says:

      Eh, I wouldn’t have attended my ceremonies if my parents hadn’t wanted to see me walk. I actually worked the night before my college graduation so I snoozed through the whole thing-the guy next to me had to wake me up when it was our turn to go. And I didn’t even get the diploma that day!

    • Malificent says:

      My mom had to drop out of high school and get a job. My grandmother didn’t get past the 4th grade because she was the oldest daughter and expected to help take care of the younger siblings. I put on a nice dress, and the cap and gown, for my mom and the memory of my grandma, and all of the other people who never had a choice.

  4. greenmonster says:

    This is something I can actually understand. Missing out on the graduation ceremony is sad and it isn’t the same when it is re-scheduled to some time later this year or even next year.

    Here in Germany our kids have to take their final exams at the moment but they aren’t allowed to do the festive ball or the Theme week (were they dress up to a certain theme every day during their last week in school). That is a bummer.

    Also, love Richie. Biggest teenage crush! But I don’t undersand why he is friends with that Kelly woman – saw a picture of Richie playing with MK kids on Instagram and it was really cute, but I thought “What?”

  5. Alexandria says:

    This virus won’t take away the pride she should have for working hard. Congratulations and have a good celebration with family and friends later. It was sweet of her to thank her father for all the opportunities and support.

    • Eleonor says:

      +1 and unlike too much celebrities daughters and sons she has prioritized he education, which is always good.

  6. Ally says:

    I think it’s really important that kids know it’s ok to be pissed about missing out on these things. I have one kid graduating high school and one that was supposed to be getting his driver’s permit, but neither of those things is happening. Yeah, the graduate will still have a diploma and the younger one will eventually get his license. And of course they understand why and that people have it worse and are grateful that they are healthy. But it still sucks.

    • liz says:

      This! My niece is graduating from college, my nephew is graduating from high school (and is the class valedictorian) and my daughter is turning 16 next month (and supposed to be getting her learner’s permit).

      They lost their grandfather to pancreatic cancer last month (there will not be a funeral for months) and their grandmother is slowly recovering from a “mild” case of Covid-19.

      These kids are stressed and worried. Their entire world has turned upside down. They are supposed to be learning how to function independently in the world and they are cooped up in their bedrooms in their parents houses. The future is a great big “who knows what will happen next.” Even if they and their immediate family are OK, they are old enough to understand just how fragile that status really is. Anger and frustration are totally acceptable responses to the loss of anything resembling “normal” in their lives right now.

  7. Kamala says:

    Obama or Biden? If they were going to do something like that wouldn’t the president do it?

    • Esmom says:

      Please. Do you really think the Tweeter in Chief has any words of wisdom to offer graduates in the midst of this crisis? He can’t even bother with condolences to families of people who’ve died from the virus.

    • Amy says:

      I mean one he wouldn’t because it wouldn’t’ be about him. And two I don’t think very many young people like trump.

    • TIFFANY says:

      President Obama was asked.

      What’s the problem?

    • Holly hobby says:

      No he’ll turn it into a speech all about himself. How great and smart he is. Smarter than any doctor…wait…

  8. Esmom says:

    She looks so much liker her dad, I’m trying to discern evidence of Locklear’s features but I don’t.

    Congrats and best wishes to her and all the grads experiencing this anticlimactic and strange end to their academic chapters.

  9. Amy says:

    She looks like her mom, and I don’t blame her for being disappointed. Graduating is a major accomplishment. I am currently getting my MBA and I don’t think I will get a ceremony with my co-hort and its really sad. And we are all in our 30s so I can’t imagine how heartbreaking for high school and college kids when this is a major milestone in their young lives.

  10. FHMom says:

    Congrats to Ava, and kudos to her celeb parents for raising a child who graduated from college. My daughter is a high school senior, and I’m sad she won’t get to walk the grass. She’s also missing prom and senior trip. My son had his 8th grade trip cancelled as well. He went through years of severe separation anxiety, and this would have been a milestone moment for us. I may actually be more upset for them than they are for themselves. Hopefully, my daughter will get some kind of memorable moment out of this. Also, the schools owes parents lots of money for these missed events, and no one is sure when we will get it or if we will even get the full amount.

  11. Meime says:

    It’s understandable to be upset about not getting a graduation ceremony and celebration when you worked really hard and were really looking forward to it. All of the hs kids missing graduation and proms, I’m sure, are pretty devastated right now. Will they care as much in 10 years? I doubt it. Kids even younger than that missing graduations or ceremonies almost definitely won’t care later on. IMHO so much of this is about parents. Parents work HARD for their kids every year getting them to school, keeping them on track, year after year, regardless of what life is throwing at them. Parents drive to practices, pay for lessons, equipment, sports, dance, music, tutoring, whatever. The parents will remember that they didn’t get to watch their child have that moment and remember the child’s disappointment. And I think it’s important to keep perspective that down the road these particular things won’t realllly matter to the kid. Some people are REALLY going off about this kind of stuff.

  12. lucy2 says:

    I’m sorry for her, but she should be proud of what she accomplished – not a lot of celebrity kids do that.
    Local kids here have been lamenting their lost graduation and prom, and some of the adults are just nasty in response and tell them to stop whining. I think it’s easy to forget how important that stuff could be to a teenager, even if as adults they too will eventually realize it’s just a small part of life.
    I really feel for the kids who fought hard for their degrees too, who were maybe the first in their family to graduate college or something. Nothing takes away the accomplishment, but I can understand being sad about not being able to really celebrate right now.

    Also, I wouldn’t be a proper Jersey Girl if I didn’t mention that Sambora left Bon Jovi like 6 or 7 years ago.

  13. JC says:

    Due to my intense social anxiety and fear of crowds, I would of been thrilled about this when I was in school. Just mail me my diploma, I’m all good here.

  14. manda says:

    Unpopular opinion: graduation ceremonies are boring and overrated. I don’t even remember any of mine

  15. Talita says:

    Richie is not in the band anymore. He’s been on his own since 2013.