Tyler high school salutatorian to miss graduation ceremony to enlist in U.S. Army

Skipping Ceremony

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Aiden Brown is the graduating salutatorian from Early College High School in Tyler Independent School District. Despite the honor, Brown will miss his school’s graduation.

“He’s been working for this since before middle school,” said Molly Brown, Aiden’s stepmother. “He’s had straight As for middle school on, so we knew it, it was exciting.”

“It’s like the fruit of my labor,” said Aiden. “It shows that my dedication was worth it.”

When graduating from Early College High School, students receive their high school diploma and an associates degree from Tyler Junior College. Aiden will be missing the graduation ceremony for both schools.

“June 1, I’m shipping out for basic training,” said Aiden. “I swore into the army.”

Molly said his family was proud of him, but disappointed they wouldn’t get to see him graduate, now that his school was having a physical graduation.

“That was a bummer. You wait all this time for them — for any parent, for any graduation — it was a little more because we knew he was working toward being a salutatorian or valedictorian,” said Molly. “So, missing that opportunity was a huge bummer.”

Aiden said he’s disappointed he won’t get to see his friends one last time, after a short-cut physical final semester.

“I was a little upset about it, especially because I’m missing it by three days and missing the TJC graduation too,” said Aiden. “But, I was given the chance to get my salutatorian speech recorded.”

Tyler ISD will be playing Aiden’s recorded speech at the high school’s graduation and is hosting a special graduation ceremony for him at the end of the month.

“This is a very special circumstance, to have a salutatorian in one of our high school programs, to be able to recognize him and check that box that he was able to write his address to his student body is something we’re very proud in assisting Aiden in doing,” said Tyler ISD Superintendent Marty Crawford.

Molly said his family is extremely grateful for the special ceremony.

“We really, really appreciate it; we weren’t expecting that,” said Molly. “It’s a huge deal for us, in all honesty, just getting to see him. It’s like the fruits of his labor, like he says. Just getting the chance to see all that and hear his speech and all the things he’s worked for, we get to see it, and at least we don’t miss that opportunity.”

Crawford said the school is working with students who have medical issues to host special ceremonies for them as well, but this ceremony for Aiden is because of his ranking.

Aiden is joining the military to eventually become a surgeon. He’s enrolling in a program called ‘Green to Gold’, which allows members to become an officer and then complete the rest of their schooling.

“Aiden’s certainly an exceptional student,” said Crawford. “He’s very proficient, as far as his academics go. We certainly appreciate Aiden wanting to jump in the service.”

WEBXTRA: Tyler high school salutatorian to miss graduation ceremony to enlist in Army

Tyler ISD released a congratulatory message in Brown’s honor:

Aiden Brown – Early College High School Salutatorian

Aiden Brown, son of Jonathon Brown and Laney Glover, plans to enlist in the Army and become a cardiothoracic surgeon. Aiden was a member of the National Honor Society as well as Phi Theta Kappa at Tyler Junior College for maintaining a GPA over 3.5 for 60 credit hours. As an ECHS student, Aiden also earned an associate’s degree from TJC. Thank you for your willingness to serve our country, Aiden!

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