You wouldn't know Darren Lee IS a proud graduate of Ohio's West Carrollton High School Class Of 2016 even if you attended the graduation ceremony. When Darren stepped up to the stage, they not only announced the wrong name, they handed him the wrong diploma. Once aware of the mistake, they never announced his name or gave him proper recognition to the crowd.
High School memories
The University of Dayton Arena was home to the graduating class ceremonies. The senior year of any high school should be filled with memories of friends, prom, final exams, and, of course, culminating with all the celebrations surrounding graduation. When the speeches are finished, the announcements of the very first student begins. Parents, friends, and loved ones watch in anticipation as their child approaches the stage and the moment comes when their name is announced. This is a student's moment in the limelight, culminating with their name being called after years of learning as they receive their diploma. Cheers from family, friends, and fellow classmates echo each name as they receive their diploma.
No mention of his name
Before Darren Lee stepped up on stage to take what he thought was his diploma, he met every requirement like all others in his senior class in order to participate in the commencement ceremony. When the wrong name was announced, Darren hesitated briefly, then proceeded to the stage. He approached the woman handing out diplomas and said "that's not me." She briefly checked for his name, shuffling through a few diplomas to see if she could find his. As seen in the video below, she handed him a diploma (with a different name) and was told, according to Darren, they would "take care of it later." Instead of correcting the mistake immediately and taking a moment to announce his name, Darren unceremoniously walked off stage with a diploma that wasn't his. He was not given a well deserved and proper moment of recognition in front of his peers, classmates, and family members for his accomplishment.
Recognition after the fact
As a high school graduate, the final moment in the journey through high school is to hear your name called out with your classmates, peers, friends, and family looking on as you've set the stage for the next chapter in your life.
Family members were understandably upset. After the ceremonies were over, Darren did receive the diploma he worked so hard to attain. The man handing over his diploma stated "Obviously it was not intentional, it was a mistake." When asked about it being brought up at the time it happened so the mistake could be rectified, the response was "We can't interrupt the ceremony."
Thank you to Sarah Wren, Photo credit used with permission ©2016.