Fayetteville franchise owner hosts special graduation ceremony for McDonald's employees

Akilah Davis Image
Thursday, May 21, 2020
Franchise owner hosts special graduation ceremony for employees
To make up for what was lost, a Fayetteville-area franchise owner took it upon himself to make sure that his high school employees got the graduation they deserved.

HOPE MILLS, N.C. (WTVD) -- The class of 2020 won't get the graduation they deserve due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, a local franchise owner wanted to give his employees who won't be able to walk across the stage a graduation they won't forget.

A total of 35 graduates walked across the stage inside a Fayetteville-area McDonald's. These graduates are employed at the restaurant location they work at. At the Traemoor Village site, seven graduates participated in a commencement ceremony along with their family members through Zoom.

"This is a really important step that you're getting ready to take and we wish you the best. We'll be praying for you," said John Parker who is owner and operator of seven McDonalds chains in the Sandhills.

Parker delivered the commencement speech on-site and virtually to other graduates.

"It means a lot because our senior year was really taken away from us so suddenly and they are recognizing us," said 19-year-old graduate Sarah Heatwole.

These young men and women didn't attend prom and otherwise wouldn't have had a reason to wear their cap and gown. The ceremony was followed by a small reception including gift bags, lunch and cake.

"We got to walk. We had diplomas and our picture taken," said 18-year-old graduate Danucka Roca.