YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — One Farrell senior was told he couldn’t walk with the rest of his class at graduation this week over safety concerns for his classmates.
Anthony Jackson’s family said he was kidnapped last month and one of the suspects — is still on the loose. So his mom gave him a special commencement ceremony at their new home in Youngstown.
“They caught one of the kidnappers but the other — the driver — they didn’t get him so the school said he couldn’t walk to protect the safety of the other kids,” his mom Shayla Blair said. “That was very understandable but it just me, as a mom, missing that moment — missing your child walk across the stage.”
Blair put together her own commencement for her son.
“I rented a stage, I went and got his diploma, presenting him his diploma because he was going to walk across the sage,” Blair said.
With friends, family and neighbors watching, he collected his degree and thanked the people who have supported him.
“When I got kidnapped I was thinking about everybody. My grandma, my mom, my dad, just like ‘How would they live without me?’ Just like the last time they saw me, that was the last time. I wanted to tell everybody I love them. For me to be here and everyone came, it’s a wonderful feeling,” Jackson said.
It gave him the chance to still experience a more personalized version of one of the biggest moments for a high-schooler.
“It means everything in the world because he still here and a lot of kids don’t even get to make it, or make it out,” Blair said. “Even though he didn’t get to walk across the stage physically with his classmates, it’s just the best feeling in the world that he was still able to walk across a stage.”
Anthony plans to go to college in the fall to study criminal justice and play football.