Herald Staff Writer
Isabelle Preston’s last couple years of school were rough, her mother said. Belle had lost her father and was struggling. But her mother and school officials were able to give her the help she needed and she crossed the stage on time May 22, receiving not one but two diplomas.
“Her father tried to finish high school in 1999 but was one credit short,” Julie Preston, Belle’s mom, said. “He never got a diploma. He got his transcripts and was able to go to trade school and become an electrician; he was really good at it.”
But Julie said her husband, Nate Preston, had always regretted never getting a diploma, a regret he carried to his grave.
May 21, the day before graduation, Julie called the administration building and asked about Nate’s diploma. Administrative assistant Mary Lou Woodford checked and found the signed diploma sitting in storage, where it had rested for 22 years.
Julie and school officials worked it out so Belle would receive not only her diploma that day but her father’s as well. Her mother told her what she’d be doing before the ceremony.
“She was crying, she was so happy,” Julie said. “Nate really wanted his kids to see that he got a diploma.”
Around her neck, Belle wore a locket with some of her father’s ashes. Nate Preston crossed the stage for his diploma after all.