A Morehouse College student received the ultimate surprise ahead of his graduation, and he has his sisters to thank for the type of spirit-lifting gift that one needs during this coronavirus craziness.
Terrell Jones, Jr. had one wish before he graduated: for his dad, a U.S. Army lieutenant colonel stationed in Maryland, to be with him to celebrate the milestone.
So his sisters, Alexis, 25, and Amber, 23, — both Spelman College graduates — decided to make it happen, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
The sisters set their plan into motion about a month ago when Morehouse delayed the 2020 graduation commencement to December amid the coronavirus shutdown. The family still wanted to celebrate Jones’ hard work, so on Sunday, they sent him off to a relative’s house to help with a chore while the sisters and their mother, Frances, prepared the backyard of the family’s Smyrna home, which is miles north of Atlanta, for a ceremony.
Once he returned home, the sisters had Jones, whom they call TJ, dress up for some family commencement photos and a Zoom chat with his father.
What TJ did not know was that it was all a ruse. His dad wasn’t as far away as he appeared to be.
Jones, who graduated this month with a degree in business administration with a concentration in finance, was left stunned when his proud papa came downstairs.
“I was just like, ‘Wow! You’re not in Maryland,'” Jones said during an interview with the Atlanta newspaper. “That was the biggest surprise I ever had. That was an amazing feeling.”
After the surprise, TJ dressed in cap and gown for his non-traditional graduation ceremony in the backyard, where his family crafted a stage for him to walk, created programs and used photos of TJ’s closest college friends in chairs showing them socially distanced.
Jones’ father gave the commencement speech.
“To be able to have a commencement that was pretty similar (to Morehouse’s past ceremonies), it was a really big deal,” he said, according to the report.
T.J. will begin his new job in July as a financial analyst at Kraft Heinz in Chicago.
Alexis posted a touching video to YouTube recapping the affair.