Mentor surprises William Fleming senior on graduation day

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) At William Fleming’s Graduation Ceremony, there were plenty of excited faces to go around, but one man helped make one grad’s day extra special.

Chris Hamilton, a retired police officer, and former school resource officer, met Livia Clements when she was a 7th grader at Breckenridge Middle.

Clements was going through a tough time after the death of her grandmother, and went to Hamilton for guidance.

“Every day she’d stop by, and we’d just talk about anything and everything. And when she had problems I’d try to help her out the best I could with advice. So it was pretty fun,” Hamilton said.

Their relationship continued after she left middle school, and he promised her he’d watch her walk in graduation. He kept that promise.

“I told her I’d planned on coming, but she had a ticket for me that I never got to get from her, so I’m not sure if she knows I’m here or not.”

Cue the surprise!

“I instantly got the biggest smile on my face, it means a lot to me that he’s still here with me,” Clements said. “We talked about me graduating and going onto high school and I’d be walking across the stage, and it’s here, and I just keep thinking over in my mind, I’m really about to graduate right now!”

Hamilton said he saw Clements shine in creative writing, and thought she might want to be a teacher one day. But Livia Clements had a surprise of her own for her mentor.

“I want to major in science, forensics specifically. Do all the DNA analysis and everything like that, and work with the police force in that aspect,” she said.

Hamilton did not see that coming! Clements says it’s because of Hamilton she wants to pursue that path.

And on her big day, he got a big thank you.

“You’re amazing, and I appreciate you and everything that you’ve done for me in my life,” she said. “Thank you, I appreciate it,” he said. “I’m glad you’re here to see my walk across the stage,” she said. “I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”