HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP) — A beloved High Point University security officer is getting noticed a little more than usual around town.

Valerie Baxter’s touching interaction with students at this year’s graduation went viral.

Students lined up one after another on graduation day to hug “Ms. Val” and express gratitude for her ongoing support.

In the moment filmed by a member of the HPU Communications team, Baxter was emotional and wished “her babies” well in their future endeavors.

“I just saw their little eyes, and I was so happy. I was just so proud of them,” she said.

It’s a bond that goes back years simply by being that smiling face, caring voice or listening ear when the students needed it most.

“I think it comes from practicing. I practice trying to stay positive,” Baxter said. “If you’re feeling sad when you come around me, I don’t want you to feel sad when you walk away.”

Baxter is intentional about spreading joy because she understands pain.

She’s overcome several personal challenges, including major losses in 2011, which is the same year she started working at HPU.

Her oldest brother and mother passed away that same year.

She says being around loving people at the university helped her during that time in her life.

The comedy and tragedy tattoo on her arm is a reminder not to take life or relationships for granted.

“I say, ‘God, thank you. Thank you for letting me smile,’ but I don’t ever want to forget how I cried,” she said.

Baxter’s bond with some of the students has continued after graduation.

She shared stories of how students have reached out via email or made a point to look for her on campus when they returned to visit.

As much as students, parents and colleagues say Baxter has been a blessing to them, she says they’ve done just as much to give her a sense of comfort and security.

“I mean when I say I love this place, I love this place,” she said.