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Hardaway High School’s valedictorian surprised and honored with a parade

Updated: Apr. 28, 2020 at 9:34 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - A high school senior who is at the top of her class got a big surprise Tuesday.

It comes at an unprecedented time for students across the nation as seniors grapple with the possibility of not walking across the stage to receive their diplomas due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ciera Walker is among the Class of 2020 and earned the prestigious honor of being named valedictorian at Hardaway High School in Columbus. To celebrate her many accomplishments, Ciera’s parents decided to surprise her with a parade.

“Being a senior it’s like your last year and not being able to have those goodbyes or last final moments, its disheartening,” Ciera said before the parade started.

Suddenly, she became distracted by the sirens getting closer and closer to her home. Little did Ciera know, the blaring sound was a sheriff’s deputy escorting the parade of cars with friends and family to honor her.

“Oh my God, I’m about to cry," Ciera said, as she saw the many familiar faces waving at her, many with uniquely made “Happy Birthday" posters attached to their vehicles.

“We appreciate everything you’ve done for Hardaway High School. Your smile has brightened up our halls for the last four years. We appreciate everything you’ve done, said Matthew Bell, Principal of Hardaway High.

Kayce Lewis, the owner of Kustom Printing in Columbus, heard about Ciera’s success and created a custom made ’senior packet’ with a t-shirt, yard signs, and plaque.

Ciera’s parents said they’re especially grateful for this moment because one year ago, Ciera was involved in a serious accident .

“I am just thanking God about how wonderful it is that she is standing here with me, because anyone who saw that car could not believe she walked away,” added Curtis Walker, Ciera’s father.

Portia Walker, Ciera’s mother said, “It’s not just valedictorian but the Gold Award for the Girl Scouts, 21 Century Award and all her hard work she put in. To God be the glory.”

Ciera is preparing to walk into the next chapter of her life at the University of Georgia to major in broadcast journalism with hopes of becoming a news anchor.

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