High School holds special graduation so dying mother can see her daughter graduate

Updated: May. 18, 2020 at 8:35 AM CDT
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OAKDALE, La. (KPLC) - For her entire senior year, Korean Antoine’s mother Shareka battled breast cancer.

“She went through chemo and it wasn’t in remission, and it came back, and when it came back it went to her lungs," said Demetria Tolbert, Shareka’s sister. “One day she told me that she was just trying to hang on for Korean’s graduation.”

Antoine is the last of her four siblings to graduate high school. COVID-19 delayed her graduation until June.

“She basically was saying she was trying to hold on but she didn’t know if she could because her body, it was tired,” Tolbert said. “I decided that when she came home from the hospital, we would try to get this for her.”

Tolbert reached out to Korean’s principal at Oakdale High School via Facebook message.

“We were able to plan it and do it on a Monday at 1 o’clock," said Principal Brad Soileu. "Me and my assistant principal, Wilda Lynn Deville went to the home.”

It was a graduation Principal Soileau said, he’d remember forever.

“It was emotional,” said graduate Korean Antoine. "It was good for her to see me get my diploma and actually her witness to see me get it.”

Just a few hours after the graduation ceremony took place, Shareka Antoine passed away.

“It was a blessing and it touched my heart, and it’s going to forever be in my heart,” Tolbert said. “It was a blessing because I knew that she was waiting on and that’s what she wanted to see.”

Shareka Antoine was diagnosed with breast cancer April 2019. Whether it’s a mammogram or self-check, her family urges everyone to get tested early.

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