School brings student's graduation to ailing grandmother

As a grandmother fought to stay alive, all she wanted was to see her grandson graduate.

KINGWOOD, Texas -- Kingwood Park High School senior Clinton Vest was just weeks away from walking the stage at NRG Stadium, but his family's heart was breaking.

"It was awful," Vest said. "She's like my mom, so it was the worst thing ever."

His grandmother was in hospice and fading fast from a rare cancer. As she fought to stay alive, all she wanted was to see her grandson graduate.

"It was not a call that we get everyday," said Assistant Principal Mark Ruffin. "It caught me off guard. The gravity of the situation hits you when you hang up the phone and realize what other people are dealing with."

The Vests reached out to Ruffin hoping somehow he and the school's administration could make grandma's dying wish come true. The school planned something for Monday, but the family feared she wouldn't make it.

"I told them I could get some things together, a diploma and be over within an hour," Ruffin said.

Ruffin and Kingwood Park's Associate Principal rushed to Vest's home and brought graduation to grandma.

"I had the biggest smile on my face. It was amazing," Vest said. "She saw me in the cap and gown, and she was staring at us, and she knew what was happening. That was the best part. She knew what was going on."

On her death bed, grandma celebrated.

"She had enough energy to clap and say congratulations and everything," Vest said. "For this to happen, it was a miracle."

Three days later, grandma died.

"It was all she wanted before she passed, it was everything to her," Vest said.

Just over a day since the loss, Vest and his family now just have photos. Memories that for at least a second bring a smile and dry their tears. This family, grateful for a school and a principal who helped shine some light into their darkest time.

"For the time that we were there, it wasn't about the illness," Ruffin said."It wasn't about the sadness. It was about Vest and that moment for him and his grandma."

It's a moment Vest says he'll always hold on to.

"It meant everything to me. I'm never going to forget it," he said.

© 2017 KHOU-TV


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