Cooper High School senior becomes first-generation graduate

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ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – She’s still got the cap, and hanging from it, like always, is the graduating year, but this commencement ceremony was far from normal.

“It was just my mom and my dad and my best friend,” said Cooper High School graduate Gabrielle Tsoodle.

Tsoodle woke up just minutes before taking her last steps as a Cooper High senior this past weekend, as Abilene ISD hosted its virtual graduation.

“I had to go put my cap and gown on and as soon as they announced my name I just moved my tassel over and started screaming,” said Tsoodle.

Instead of stadium seating though, Gabrielle’s family took a spot right on the living room couch.

“I don’t even think we heard her name being announced, we just saw her picture and all started hollering,” said Gabrielle’s mom, Tara Castro.

Even though moments like these have looked a lot different for the class of 2020, crossing the stage wasn’t an opportunity this senior was going to let slip away.

Graduation wasn’t something just Gabrielle was looking forward to.

“It was always like a goal for our whole family because I would be the first one to graduate,” said Tsoodle.

The senior is now getting the chance to set an example for her younger siblings and make her parents proud.

“She did it all on her own. It’s got nothing to do with me or her dad, she’s a good kid,” said Castro.

While the teenager will still get the chance to graduate alongside her friends in July, sharing that moment with her family just inches away was something special for her.

Cooper High School is set to have its in-person graduation July 18 at Shotwell Stadium.


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