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Teen Graduates High School Early for Mom With Cancer

Kindergarten graduation, middle school graduation ... sure they're important celebrations, but few moments can match the pride and excitement parents feel when their children graduate from high school.

Evie Shumaker's mom has always been very involved with her education. As a senior at Newark Digital Academy, Evie takes her schooling seriously. When her mom was diagnosed with stage 4, inoperable pancreatic cancer, she made sure she kept up with her homework, all while making time to be there for her family.

Recently, when Evie told her teacher of two years, Jason Dunbar, that her mom's condition was worsening, Dunbar wanted to help in a meaningful way.

With the help of other teachers and administrators, Dunbar confirmed that Evie was able to graduate early. “We thought it was the right thing to do to make sure her mother knows she will be a 2014 graduate,” Newark Digital Director John Lutz told the Coshocton Tribune.

Dunbar surprised Evie on Monday by letting her know that the school wanted to bring a diploma and celebrate her graduation at the hospital.

When Melissa Shumaker, Evie's mom, heard the news, she naturally wanted to know her daughter's GPA (being the concerned parent she is). Shumaker was told that Evie had an A average. She was thrilled. “It was a really awesome moment,” Dunbar said. “Her mom was beaming with pride and joy, and it was an amazing thing to see.”

Pomp and Circumstance was played over a cellphone during the heartfelt ceremony.

While the teachers had to pull some strings to make the graduation happen, it was worth it, Dunbar said. "To us, it was the difference between Evie saying, ‘Yes, I graduated, and I wish my mom had seen it,’ and, ‘Yes, my mom got to see me graduate.’ They had both worked hard, and it was a moment we could allow them to share together.”

What appeared to be a low-key graduation ceremony to outsiders will ultimately be a lifelong memory for Evie and her family. "It’s been really hard because I didn’t think she would actually see me graduate, so the fact that the school did that for me and my mom was able to see me—it’s one of those moments in my life that I’m never going to forget," Evie said.

Image via Coshocton Tribune

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