A high school senior who’s joining the Marines thought he was going to have to miss his graduation ceremony because he’s heading to boot camp, but his school let him graduate before the rest of his class. Hipolito Garcia is leaving for Parris Island for Marine Corp boot camp the day before his school, Hackensack High School in New Jersey, has graduation, so they let him put on his cap and gown during their dress rehearsal to get his diploma in front of family, friends, and classmates.
The teen immigrated with his parents and siblings to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic in 2017 and learned how to speak English and went on to graduate with a 3.8 GPA. “He sacrificed a lot, and it’s a good example for our students to see this,” explains assistant principal Patricia Lozano. “Sometimes we don’t get rewarded for all the struggles and challenges we have, so we wanted to show them how hard work pays off.”