A high school student received the surprise of his life when a special education teacher at his school surprised him with his graduation cap and gown, even though he never imagined he would graduate.
Kimberly Wimbish, who has been tutoring Jamais Howard, 19, since he stopped going to school in the winter, surprised the teen with his accolades to graduate last weekend.
“Thank you so much, I appreciate it," Howard said in a video posted to Wimbish's Facebook page. "I love you so much."
Wimbish told InsideEdition.com this was not the sort of impression Howard made on her when she first met him just months ago.
“When he entered my classroom in the beginning of the school year, it was not pretty,” she said. “It was difficult with Jamais. It was almost like he didn’t trust people. He was angry. His use of language was... less than desirable. He was a tough guy."
Though he was still enrolled, Howard stopped attending school sometime in the winter.
But, Wimbish said she was determined to help him make it to graduation anyway.
“I had time available after I taught so I’d meet with him and work on finishing those credits in a different learning environment,” she said. “I’d meet him in the library, in the local park, at a Burger King — wherever he could reach within walking distance.”
Eventually, through hard work, Howard earned all the credits he needed to graduate, but Wimbish decided to keep the good news from him until she could surprise him with his cap and gown.
“He has so much pride now. He’s excited — he’s telling everyone he’s graduating,” she explained. “He didn’t think he was going to [graduate], honestly. The odds were stacked against him.”