Commencement ceremonies are a time to celebrate the completion of an academic journey and often times, students try to pull off a surprise as they walk across the stage. But during a graduation ceremony in North Carolina, the surprise came from a principal who showed off his vocal prowess that the student body, faculty and staff had no idea was coming.
Marcus Gause, the principal of T. Wingate Andrews High School in High Point, North Carolina, wowed the 2021 graduating class with a soulful, acapella rendition of the classic ballad “I Will Always Love You,” written by Dolly Parton but made famous by the late Whitney Houston who covered it for The Bodyguard soundtrack.
Principal Marcus Gause surprises the graduating class of T. Wingate Andrews High School in High Point, North Carolina with this moving performance of "I Will Always Love You." pic.twitter.com/jwO2ur0F8s
— edutopia (@edutopia) June 9, 2021
“I don’t have to tell you how emotional these graduations have been,” Winston McGregor, a school board member, wrote in a Facebook post.
The student body went wild and cheered their principal on as Gause took a moment to acknowledge the graduating class as they prepare for life after high school.
“Of course, there was a nervousness because nobody sings behind Whitney Houston and the greats like Dolly Parton, but the lyrics were really what I was trying to portray to my students,” Gause told ABC News.
“One of the things that the pandemic has really taught us is that we need more love, that students know that we love and care for them,” he added.
Brimming with emotion about the unexpected, but unforgettable, moment, one student said he would "never forget" Gause singing to the graduates.
"He is a big part of why I am who I am today," the student said. “He is a big part of who I am today.”
Without question, Principal Gause is beloved by his students, and choosing “I Will Always Love You,” was a fitting tribute to the graduating senior class.
Gause has raised the bar for future sendoffs from principals.