Hermitage Health Center hosts graduation ceremony for resident’s grandson

There were few dry eyes at the Hermitage Health Center Wednesday afternoon, as residents and family members alike put on a surprise graduation ceremony for resident Brenda Faye Williams’ grandson.

Williams’ daughter, Peggy Campbell, said they got news Friday Williams had only a few days left.

Williams, however, told them it was her last wish to see her grandson, Andrew Stanley, graduate high school, and Unaka High School seniors do not officially graduate for another month.

Therefore, they put on their own graduation ceremony so she could attend.

The family began setting up the ceremony.

“We were going to do something little,” Campbell said.

However, this “little” plan quickly changed once the nursing home heard of the plan, and they immediately began setting it up as an official event, decorating an outdoor pavilion to host the ceremony. By that point, Unaka High School principal Betsy Oliver agreed to officiate the miniature ceremony as if it was his official graduation.

Stanley’s friend group also participated, dressed in their official graduation gowns and walking up to their principal with music playing from a radio.

“My friends and I are really close,” Stanley said. “Their generosity means the world to me.”

Williams said she loved the ceremony.

“I never thought they would do something like this,” she said.

Campbell said the amount of support she received from the community once they found out, from the nursing home to the high school, was incredible.

“It warms my heart,” Campbell said. “[Hermitage] took over just because of her.”

She said the doctor informed the family Williams should not have been sitting up at that point, but there she was, sitting upright in her wheelchair watching the graduation ceremony.

The ceremony itself was a complete surprise to Williams, who heard about it only briefly the night before.

“It was unbelievable,” Williams said.

Stanley said the ceremony should inspire people to make every second count.

“It was emotional but also relieving to do this,” he said.

Campbell said the best part of the ceremony was watching her mother.

“I will remember how happy my mama is,” she said.

Local news

City school board OKs $36M budget that includes 4.5 percent raise for all staff

Local news

Board gives OK to naming ‘LaPorte Field,’ ‘Dave Rider Center for Athletic Performance’

Local news

Local musician set to release first album — ‘Heroes & Friends’

Community

Senior Center Schedule

Local news

TVA working with customers to prevent rolling blackouts in summer

Local news

AI’s impact: From global tech changes to classroom opportunities

Local news

Move-up, luxury market push April pending home sales higher

Local news

Elizabethton Chick-fil-A closed most of summer due to renovations

Local news

National Poppy Day Golf Scramble set for May 24

Community

Unaka Elementary releases third nine weeks honor roll

Community

JC Community Concert Band will perform Memorial Day Concert

Arrests

Hampton man held on murder charge after missing man’s remains believed unearthed in freezer

Church News

Being a disciple

Church News

Church Briefs

Local news

Elizabethton Elks Club hosts annual Youth Trout Tournament

Local news

Good God, Good Times, Good Results

Local news

Elizabethton Walmart wins award

Local news

Nanney steps into full-time role as Elizabethton Parks & Recreation director

Church News

Why has God the Father given his son power over everything

Local news

Appalachian Trail Days Festival celebrates Sunday in Damascus, Va.

Local news

Former state lawmaker Campbell challenges dismissal of public records case

Church News

Walnut Mountain Cemetery Assoc. will celebrate dinner on the grounds

Local news

Carson Peters and Iron Mountain in concert at Roan Mtn. State Park

Local news

Brightspeed launches state-of-the-art fiber internet service in Johnson City and Tri-Cities area