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Bedside virtual graduation makes mother's dying wish come true

Two Clarksville siblings put their caps and gowns on a little early so their mom could be a part of their big day.

CLARKSVILLE, Ark. — Two Clarksville siblings put their caps and gowns on a little early so their mom could be a part of their big day.

With their mother expected to lose her battle to cancer before both graduate in May they wanted their mom to see them receive their diploma. 

Lilianne and Chandler McKissack fulfilled their mother’s dying wish with a big help from school administrators who threw together a bedside cap-and-gown ceremony during the holiday break.

“Thankfully through zoom and this pandemic, we were able to have an authentic zoom graduation,” Lilianne said.

Chandler is set to graduate from Clarksville High School.

“My athletic director was there and they dressed up in graduation attire and some of my friends got to watch my graduate via zoom,” Chandler said.

And Lilianne from the University of Mississippi in May, something she and her mom share a special bond.

“My mom is actually an alumni of the University of Mississippi and so she was really excited to actually see the cap and gown I was in and just get to reminisce at her time at ole miss as well,” Lilianne said.

The mock ceremony happened yesterday after Lilianne, Clayton, family, friends, and staff from their school  – put a plan in motion to bring the ceremony to their mom.

Dr. Ethel Young Scurlock a professor at Ole Miss played a big part in the successful virtual graduation.

“I immediately sent an email to the dean of the honors college. The dean of the college of liberal arts and a person who works with family’s at the University of Mississippi to see if we could give this family a Christmas gift by doing this ceremony for them,” Scurlock said.

All administrators were on board and for that Lilianne and Clayton say they are eternally grateful.