Army dad surprises daughter at graduation after 10 years overseas

A South Florida high school graduate received a special graduation surprise when she and her father, a commander in the US Army who was deployed for 10 years, were reunited onstage during the ceremony on May 19, according to local media reports. Kayla Tillman, who was a senior at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was called up to the stage at the end of the graduation ceremony under the guise of being a “graduate of distinction,” reported the Miami Herald. “Thank you and your family for the sacrifices you have made to protect our freedom,” a school leader then told Kayla before bringing her father, US Army Staff Sgt. Anthony Tillman, onstage. According to Good Morning America, Tillman had been serving in Korea before returning to his station in Fort Benning, Georgia, where he made the 600-mile trip to Fort Lauderdale, making it to Kayla’s graduation with only an hour to spare. Credit: Katelyn Tolzien/St. Thomas Aquinas High School via Storyful