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Man’s Family Didn’t Show Up to His Graduation - Years Later, He Cheers for All 400 Students at His Granddaughters Graduation
Dad in the Audience Cheers for All 400 High School Students at Their Graduation
Uplifting News

Man’s Family Didn’t Show Up to His Graduation - Years Later, He Cheers for All 400 Students at His Granddaughters Graduation

Mario Ortiz wasn't about to let any high school student feel alone on graduation day.

Graduation is a huge milestone in a person's life. It is the culmination of years of hard work and marks the end of one chapter and the beginning of a new one.

For many students, it is a time to celebrate their academic achievements with family and friends. For others, however, this isn't the case. Not everyone has family members in the audience cheering them on as they cross the stage.

And it was for these students that one dad and grandfather made sure that they knew that they were not alone.

Dad Gives a Shoutout to Every Graduating Student in Heartwarming Gesture

person holding a degree in their hands
Photo by Ekrulila

It was graduation day for students of Colleyville Heritage High School in Colleyville, Texas. Mario Ortiz, 60, sat in the audience, there to watch his granddaughter accept her diploma. But he wasn't there just to cheer for his granddaughter...he was there to cheer for ALL of the graduating students. Each and every one.

All 400 of them.

His daughter, Melinda Capetillo, captured his reaction on video and shared it on TikTok where it quickly went viral.

"Papa cheering for EVERY graduate on the Colleyville roster," Capetillo captioned the post.

Wearing a black T-shirt and jeans, Mario can be seen giving a hearty knee-slap and shouting the name of each student as they go on stage to receive their diploma. 

Reading from the program, Mario cheers for "Jackson," "Aliyah," "Sean," "Reid," "Connor," "John" and "Zachary" as they graduate.

“Go Papa” TikTok Video of Cheering Dad Goes Viral

The video has been viewed nearly 775K times and received more than 100K likes and 4K comments.

Commenters couldn't help but love Mario's wholesome and enthusiastic response to the graduating class of 2022.

"This is amazing. Some graduates don’t have anyone to cheer for them," one commenter said.

Another said, "Ok but as someone who sat in an auditorium and heard NO one clap for my son...I would have run up and hugged your dad."

Still, another wrote, "My father wasn’t at any of my graduations, including College. If your Papa called out my name it would of meant the world to me!"

This isn't the first time that Capetillo's dad has done this. Apparently, her father is a chronic cheerleader. He's been cheering on graduating students since 2017 when his oldest grandson graduated from high school.

“We were all just like, ‘Here he goes again.’ It’s just what my dad does,” Capetillo said.

The Reason Why This Dad Cheers for Everyone


TikTok · Marlaina

Mario knows what it's like not to have someone in the audience cheering you on. He experienced it at his own graduation.

"It wasn't really a thing for students to invite their families to graduations back then," Capetillo told MySA. The youngest of ten siblings, Mario only had one family member there on his big day.

"The only person at his graduation was his sister, who was graduating with him. He said he wants others to know that you may not have family here, but there is someone out there rooting for you."

A drug and alcohol counselor, Mario knows just how important this knowledge is and what a difference it can make in someone's life. It's what helped him overcome his own addiction to drugs in 2007.

Knowing that you are not alone is one of the greatest gifts someone can give another person. Having someone there to cheer you on, in the big moments and the small, really does have a much greater impact than most people realize.

Mario not only gave each and every one of these 400 students a special shoutout, but he was also the first one on his feet to give them a standing ovation. Go dad!

And while he believes that everyone deserves applause, when it comes to his own actions he just hopes that he can inspire others to be the voice of encouragement for those around them.

He said he hopes people who see the video will “Listen to their spirit. Do the right or noble thing even if everyone is watching.” 

It could mean more than you know.


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