Wahpeton graduating senior’s deployed brother surprises her at ceremony with diploma

“I don’t feel bad for making it a surprise. I feel bad for keeping it from her.”
Published: May. 29, 2022 at 10:20 PM CDT
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WAHPETON, N.D. (Valley News Live) - A big day for high school seniors, as many had their graduation ceremonies today.

One Wahpeton student got a very special surprise from someone important she definitely wasn’t expecting to see today.

“I don’t feel bad for making it a surprise. I feel bad for keeping it from her,” says Cody Jochim.

He stayed behind the curtain for most of Wahpeton’s high school graduation.

Jochim was deployed last June, and for just as long, his family has been upset he wouldn’t be able to make it to his sister Sam’s big day, her high school graduation.

“It was tough because she cried a lot,” says their mother Jennifer Brown.

“This is all their days. But for me to her, it’s her day. For me to give this to her, it feels great,” says Jochim.

But he put in a request and was able to get a pass to be able to hand his biggest inspiration, Sam, her diploma at the ceremony. She just didn’t know it yet.

“Probably the hardest secret I’ve ever kept in my whole, entire life,” says Jennifer.

“How she didn’t let it go, I have no idea,” says their father Duane Brown.

Their mother Jennifer says, at her graduation party, Sam had others crying too that Cody couldn’t make it.

“She was upset I couldn’t make it to her graduation party last week. I wanted so bad to tell her I’m going to be here, but I couldn’t ruin the surprise,” says Cody.

But when Sam’s name was called to come get her diploma…

“I wouldn’t miss it,” said Cody to Sam as he handed it to her.

She was able to celebrate her big day with her brother.

“How do you feel?” we asked.

“Happy,” says Sam.

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