Lifestyle & Human Interest

Principal Surprises Teen Working Culver's Drive-Thru To Tell Her She's Valedictorian


A high school principal from Michigan went the extra mile to deliver some important news to a very deserving high school senior.

Like schools across America, Grand Traverse Academy in Traverse City, Michigan, has closed its doors for a coronavirus-related quarantine.

The quarantine orders did not stop secondary principal Michelle Floering from honoring Grand Traverse’s 2020 class valedictorian, 18-year-old Kaitlyn Watson.

Floering learned Watson was working as an essential employee at a Culver’s fast-food restaurant.

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The principal decided to drive to the Culver’s drive-thru and order a drink so that she could deliver the good news to Watson in person — from a safe distance, of course.

“You always have to find the positive in every circumstance,” Floering told CNN. “It is still OK to have celebrations.”

As Floering stopped at the drive-thru window, she asked to speak with Watson, who had earned the highest academic honor out of her class of 47 students.

“Hi, Kaitlyn. So, I got you on camera because I want to announce something to you today,” Floering said, as a uniform-clad Watson looked on. “You are GTA’s 2020 class valedictorian!”

Watson was visibly thrilled about the news. “I am? Oh my gosh! Thank you so much,” she said with excitement.

“You’re welcome. And I know we have to stay 6 feet away so I can’t give you a hug, but congratulations. Well deserved,” Floering said.

Watson was thankful her principal drove the distance to share the good news in person.

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“It was just pure joy,” Watson told WZZM-TV.

“It was a light in the darkness of everything that’s going on. It meant the world to me that she was able to come and made that kind of effort to tell me. I cannot thank her enough.”

Floering said the effort was well worth it just to see the reaction on the deserving teenager’s face.

“Seeing her reaction was everything,” she told WZZM.

“Being named class valedictorian is an important senior moment. Kaitlyn is more than entitled to have that, even if I had to stay 6 feet from her while telling her.”

Watson said she will always remember the milestone moment, a silver lining to the coronavirus closure that has rocked the last semester of her high school year.

“She wouldn’t have done it that way if school were still in session,” Watson said. “Knowing that makes it even more meaningful to me. Good things can still come within these recent events.”

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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