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When Arbor Terrace Shrewsbury kitchen server Alan Drake recently earned his diploma from Long Branch High School, his Arbor staff family was determined to serve him for once, with an unforgettable graduation celebration. With so many special ceremonies and family plans thwarted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the staff remained committed to the standard of putting people first.

“Alan has been with us a year, and he’s worked so hard here and in school,” said Dena Dinsmore, Engagement director at Arbor Terrace. “As his Arbor family, we are proud of him and felt it was important to celebrate his accomplishment. Plus, we all felt terrible that he and other seniors were not able to have a formal [graduation] ceremony.”

SHR_Photo_3 (1)The graduation festivities, which included cake, decorations and a rendition of the traditional Pomp and Circumstance, were hosted as a surprise for Alan. The team even coordinated a way to have his cap and gown on hand, so Alan could don his graduation attire while walking in front of an audience.

“This milestone means a lot to me,” said Alan, who plans to attend Brookdale College in the fall and major in business. “And I was overwhelmed and very grateful for how the staff chose to celebrate me.”

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Ellena Balkcom

About the Author: Ellena Balkcom

Ellena is a freelance writer, blogger and marketing copywriter based in Atlanta, GA, who covers health and wellness, business leadership and customer experience.