BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – While hundreds filed into the South Park High School Auditorium, Army Specialist Tulinabo Ruviri was hiding backstage to surprise the little sister who hasn’t seen him in almost four years.
Tulinabo served in Afghanistan, and since coming back, he’s been active duty out-of-state.
“I want to surprise her because they’ve been waiting for me a long time and I keep giving them reasons and reasons why I couldn’t make it, and I heard from her school that she did everything she could to graduate, so it’d be more than an honor to honor her to present her diploma.”
Tulinabo says people take a lot of things for granted thing, like being home with their family on special occasions.
“We don’t have this opportunity.”
His sister, Joseline Musimwa, wasn’t expecting this.
“I feel happy, excited, thrilled, everything, it’s just a wonderful feeling.”
This wasn’t the only touching moment at the South Park high School graduation.
Eighty-six-year-old John McAlpine finally received his diploma. He left South Park High School his freshman year, to join his friend and fight in World War II at age 15.
“So we both went up and got our birth certificates, changed the last number on our birth certificates, and they just took us,” said the retired Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class US Navy veteran. “You know I’m not anything special, I just…that was the thing you did back then, was defend your country.”
His family sat in the front row as he told the packed auditorium, “I’m very proud. I was proud to watch my daughters graduate from high school, now I’m very proud that they’re watching me.”