Pulaski County High School (PCHS) senior Hannah Hudson got the ultimate graduation gift Friday night as she went into the school’s gymnasium to pick up her diploma.
Her older brother, Stephen Hudson, is in the army and stationed at Buckley Air Force Base in Colorado, where he has been for the past year. Although Hannah did not think her brother would be able to make it out to her graduation ceremony, his return had actually been planned for about six months, and she had no clue.
“She had no idea about it at all,” said Stephen. “I’m excited to see her face. She’s gonna be super excited, I’m definitely expecting tears.”
It had been eight months since the last time the siblings saw each other. As Hannah entered the gym to claim her diploma, her brother and the school had planned a ruse to act as if they had to grab a corrected version, while Stephen hid around the corner. As her diploma was being retrieved, Stephen appeared from around the corner, catching his younger sister off guard and the two embraced for a long awaited, yet unanticipated reunion.
“I thought ‘holy crap, I’m dreaming, that’s not even him,’” said Hannah. “It’s been so long.”
According to Stephen, the word spread through PCHS’ staff that he would be making a surprise return. Even though the word got out in that capacity, Hannah was still completely surprised, and delighted to see that her older brother made it back over to the east coast in time to see her graduate high school.
Stephen will be back in town for a week before going back to his duty in the army in Colorado. Hannah graduated with honors, and plans to attend Virginia Tech in the fall to study Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise.