With her father away on military service in the Middle East, Chelsea Jusino was resigned to attending her high school graduation without him.
But when she donned her graduation gown and went to the ceremony at a baseball stadium in Clearwater, Fla., she got a surprise.
After Gary Schlereth, principal of Countryside High School, spoke to the students about adulthood, he introduced a video on the stadium's JumboTron screen. There was Chelsea's dad, Edgar.
"Chelsea, I know due to certain circumstances, I have not always been there for you and that I have missed many important dates in your life," the elder Jusino said, according to Tampa Bay Online. "I want you to know that I will always be there for you in your most hardest, most difficult, most lonely times. I will be there to pick you up when you fall. Wipe your knees and hands. Clean your feet. Wipe your tears. Give you a shoulder to cry. Give you a hug, with a kiss."
Before shipping out with the Army National Guard in December, Edgar Jusino went to the school's video studio and recorded his three-minute message aimed at the class in general and his daughter specifically. He ended the message by telling her that he loved her. The school kept the video, and kept it quiet, for nearly six months, Tampa Bay Online said.
Chelsea, who watched the message with tears in her eyes, was touched and amazed.
""I was definitely surprised," Chelsea told ABC. "Seeing him there, just seeing him, made me feel so good."
Chelsea and the other proud graduates of Countryside High School then stepped up to the stage and collected their high school diplomas.