GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — Friends and family came together to give an Allendale High School graduate a commencement ceremony after she missed the official event because she was sick.
Nicole Ford, 18, went out to dinner with friends and family before graduation on May 25. She came down with food poisoning and found herself so sick she couldn’t walk across the stage with her classmates.
“I was really disappointed” to miss commencement, Ford said. “I was so sick I couldn’t really get sad, but the day after, I missed the all-nighter (party), too.”
But friends and family were determined to make sure she got her moment.
“I was really sad for her at first because we made our caps together and our sayings on our caps kind of went together so I didn’t really have my exit buddy,” Brooke Modderman, Ford’s best friend, said, referencing the matching quotes from “Finding Nemo” that they wrote on their graduation caps.
Friday, they staged a surprise for Ford. Dozens of friends and family held a special mock graduation in the gym at Allendale High School.
“I started crying because I didn’t know everybody was coming,” Ford said.
Wearing her cap and gown, she was able to pretend she was at graduation, walking into the gym with her friends and taking pictures like she would have had she not gotten sick.
“It made me super happy. I don’t feel like that part of my life is missing now because it was such an important day,” Ford said.
“I know she’d do the same for me if I missed it, so just really glad she got that moment to have a little piece of graduation,” Modderman said.
She plans to attend Ferris State University in the fall and plans on studying nursing.