High School Grants Dad’s Dying Wish by Holding Mock Ceremony: ‘I Just Want to See My Baby Girl Graduate’


Mark Patterson made his dying wish known to his family when he was given less than two weeks to live after being diagnosed with stage IV esophageal cancer.

But after several of his organs began to fail, the hospice patent in Tyler, Texas knew he didn’t have much time left with his wife, Darla Patterson, and his adopted daughter, Christan, who is a high school senior.

Darla Patterson told CBS19 that Christan and her husband share a special bond. After his latest diagnosis, he told his wife through tears:

“I just want to see my baby girl graduate.”

Before Mark became ill in January, he worked as a bus driver for his daughter’s school district. So when Lindale Independent School District (ISD) employees caught wind of his request, they decided to give Mark a once in a lifetime experience.


Darla recalled:

“The people who he used to work with at the bus barn in Lindale, one of the drivers came to me and she said, ‘What if we do Christan a graduation?’”

She continued:

“The principal, the superintendents, and Lindale let this happen. They let teachers come. They let students come. Those were her three best friends, the girls you saw her with, and they’ve been her rock.”

Lindale ISD decided to throw Christian a mock graduation ceremony just for Mark.

Watch the presentation in the video below:

We feel so honored to have been able to present one of our senior students, Christan Patterson, with a mock graduation in honor of her father. Her father, Mark Patterson, is a former bus driver for Lindale ISD. He is currently in hospice battling cancer and his wish was to see his daughter graduate. Please keep this wonderful family in your thoughts and prayers. 💙

Posted by Lindale Independent School District on Wednesday, March 20, 2019

In the heartfelt Facebook video, the Lindale high school senior meets her dad down the aisle in a royal blue cap and gown in front of her friends and family.

Christian said:

“The graduation in May will be special, but I know I will be laughing more and be more outgoing since I’ll be with my classmates. But I know this one will definitely be something in the books.”

Her official graduation date is slated for May. However, Christian is aware of her dad’s declining health. She said:

“My dad is my rock. Even though I might break down once in a while, I know God has my back, and I want to stay strong for my family, as well.”

Lindale Independent School District Facebook

She added:

“I just know my dad is very caring and very loving, and that he thanks everyone that was a part of this. And if he wasn’t on medicine and everything, he would be crying right now.”

Mark could not outwardly express his emotions at his daughter’s celebration, so his family spoke on his behalf.

Watch the video below:

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  1. Bless his heart ❤️!! That was a sweet moment for a dad to have in his memory! She’ll remember this day on her actual graduation day!!

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