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Graduation Day Comes Early for Bowsher Senior

Sojourner’s Truth Staff

The traditional pomp and circumstance of graduation is eluding the class of 2020 and is being replaced by virtual commencements and drive through celebrations. One Bowsher High School senior feared that he might even miss this year’s replacement events due to his prior commitments.

Toledo Public Schools Superintendent Romules Durant, EdD, and Bowsher Principal Teri Sherwood were determined, however, that senior Parker Drane, who has joined the U.S. Army and is scheduled to leave before the school’s June 4 drive-thru graduation at the Stranahan Theater, should not be deprived of the celebration of the honors he has achieved during his four years.

On Thursday, May 21, Durant and Sherwood joined Parker’s Army recruiter, Sgt. Gauje Rush, and surprised the senior at his home – delivering his diploma and thanking him for his years of hard work and the example he set during those years as he strove to help others.

“During my years as superintendent, I have shaken hands with every graduate,” said Durant. “It would hurt me not to be able to take that picture with you. We are proud of you and we want to thank you for your service.”

Parker’s lifelong ambition has been to serve in the military. “I always wanted to protect people I love and I still want to do that,” he said.

Parker’s “graduation ceremony” was a huge surprise, and a great relief. “I was definitely afraid that I might not be able to graduate,” he said afterwards. “This was definitely a heartwarming experience.”

Parker’s schedule conflict comes as a result of his enlistment and his orders to report to Fort Lee in Virginia before the June 4 Bowsher ceremony. The young man enlisted in the Army at the end of his junior year and completed his basic training last summer before senior year taking advantage of the Army’s “split option.” He reports to Fort Lee in order to start Advanced Individual Training, after which he will be a “complete soldier,” said Rush.

During his high school career, Parker has been in the band and participated in soccer.

“From day one, he never wavered,” said Sherwood of Parker’s time at Bowsher. “He always stood up for the little guy and did the right thing – the little kid being bullied or picked on … he’s a great kid.”

Parker’s mother, Lori Wilburn, was perhaps even more excited than her son about the effort made to bring the graduation to him before he leaves for duty. “I’m excited and nervous, he’s doing such a big thing but he always wanted to serve his country.” Wilburn had been greatly disappointed that her son wouldn’t be able to join his fellow students for the graduation ceremony.

The event was not what exactly Parker has been waiting for to end his high school career – but it provided great comfort.

“I’ve been waiting for that one day to graduate from high school,” he said.




Copyright © 2019 by [The Sojourner's Truth]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 05/28/20 10:50:53 -0400.

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