Alfred La’Cap doesn’t have much longer to live. But there’s one thing the proud father won’t have to miss: His youngest son’s high school graduation.
Long Beach High School faculty and students brought graduation to the La’Cap family Friday, joining them in the driveway of their Long Beach home and performing a graduation ceremony for the family patriarch.
In 2016, doctors diagnosed the 69-year-old La’Cap with prostate cancer. Soon after, the cancer spread into his bones.
The tight-knit La’Cap family wasn’t sure he was going to make it to May, when the school holds graduation.
So La’Cap’s daughters, Marissa “Ana” Hannah and Sita La’Cap, suggested trying to stage an early graduation for their younger brother Noah, a senior at the school. Marissa learned Notre Dame Ministries, which is providing hospice for her father, had participated in a similar event years ago. Ministry staff pledged to help.
Sita and Marissa contacted school administrators to get their thoughts, and found they were happy to help. It was important for everyone to move quickly, Sita said, fearing her father wouldn’t make it. So that’s what happened.
“They put everything together on their end in like, under five days,” Sita said of the school. “It was impressive.”
Right before Friday’s graduation ceremony began, two of La’Cap’s kids, Philip Suarez and Joshua La’Cap, carried him out of the house and placed his bed where he could see Noah accept his diploma. Classmates, friends and family filled the lawn chairs and stood along the driveway.
After Long Beach High Principal Larry Ramsey finished his commencement remarks, someone played “Pomp and Circumstance” on a cellphone. A classmate said it was traditional for the graduate to toss his mortar board, so Noah flung the maroon cap into the air and the wind caught the tassel.
Family members, many in tears, offered their congratulations to Noah first, and then to Alfred.
Noah walked over to his father and placed his diploma on his lap. Alfred smiled.