TOP PHOTO: Dad and his grad, Leon and Ewan, shared a day that a community will not soon forget. The sign was created by one of Ewan’s friends.

It was a most moving ceremony on Wednesday afternoon at Jellico High as Ewan Deane walked to the stage for his diploma.

By Clayton Carroll

JELLICO, TN (WLAF) – Leon Deane is receiving hospice care after a pancreatic cancer diagnosis. His dying wish was to see his son, Ewan, receive his high school diploma. Ewan is a junior, who is also a member of Jellico High School Football team. The staff at Jellico High School, knowing that Leon’s time is limited, made his wish come true.

On Wednesday afternoon, Ewan Deane’s family and the student body of Jellico High filled the school auditorium to watch Ewan’s honorary graduation ceremony. The ceremony began with Ewan marching down the center aisle of the auditorium to the sound of Pomp and Circumstance. Once Ewan saw his father sitting in his wheelchair in the front row, he began to tear up.

The JHS administration pulled Wednesday’s event together in a very short span of time.

On the program handed out to celebrate Deane’s graduation, a few of the JHS faculty members honored Ewan. Jennifer Seals, the Jellico High School librarian, remembered on her first day at JHS she was met by Ewan. “I’m Ewan Deane. Welcome to Jellico High School. What can I do to help?,” he said. Seals called Ewan an encouraging and cheerful person.

JHS Principal Joey St. John addresses the large audience.

Ewan “is a big person with just as big of a heart. He has a wonderful personality that shines bright,” Head Football Coach Brent Peel. “Ewan has wonderful, Godly parents that have molded him into a fine young man.” The entire Jellico football family is “blessed” and love having Ewan as a part of the team, Peel said.

After Principal Joey St. John read the program about Ewan, he was announced as a graduate from the class of 2025 and handed his diploma. Along with a diploma, Ewan received a yearbook signed by the Jellico student body.

Ewan Deane pauses for some reflection.

Stephanie Shelton, school counselor, praised everyone involved at JHS. “This is the best place to be. It’s like family,” she said.

In under 36 hours, the school organized this ceremony for the family and St. John said he was grateful for everyone who helped.

The bond between a community and one family was sealed on Wednesday.

“It has been a rough couple of months,” said Leon Deane. The people at JHS have been great to him and his family, he said. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 08/31/2023-6AM)