Waco native surprised with graduation ceremony after FC Dallas practice

WACO, Texas (KWTX) FC Dallas midfielder Edwin Cerrillo thought his parents were hanging around Frisco an extra day because they just wanted an extra day with their son.

From left to right: Jorge, Francisco, Edwin, Silvia and Jorge Cerrillo

It wasn't just additional, but unforgettable.

Cerrillo, who recently graduated from his high school that solely features online courses, was surprised by his team, and parents, with an informal graduation ceremony after practice Monday.

The 18-year old was training with the United States' U20 National Team in Poland during the final weeks of school and was unavailable to attend his formal graduation, so his school principal contacted FC Dallas to see if they could initiate a makeshift stage walk.

"He went above and beyond for what's required for a high school diploma," Texas Online Prepatory School Principal Rachel Smith said. "We're very proud that he didn't give up, nor did he quit, but that he pursued above and beyond what the minimum expectation for the state of Texas is."

Cerrillo had been in constant contact with his counselor, Joann Wardlow, leading up to the completion of graduation requirements. Since the two were on opposite sides of the world, communication in a timely manner made it a challenge.

"There's this seven-hour difference and I'm trying to communicate, this is what you need, these are the last few things you need to do," Wardlow said. "We did a lot of communication through e-mail, and he did great."

Cerrillo received a cap, gown and diploma, all of which warmed the hearts of his parents Jorge and Silvia.

"It's an indescribable feeling," Jorge Cerrillo said. "It's a great honor. I have no words for it."

"He left us at a young age and it was difficult for us," Silvia Cerrillo said. "For him to get the diploma, we're very proud of him."

Edwin was born in Waco, where his parents currently reside. He joined the FC Dallas Academy in 2015, so he's been away from his parents since then.

But it turned out to be a decision that has paid off in multiple ways, beginning with his MLS debut earlier this year, and continuing with high school graduation.

"My parents have always told us to keep our feet on the ground and stay humble," Edwin Cerrillo said. "Soccer isn't going to last forever, so they encouraged us to finish high school, and me in particular. I think that's why I put so much time into my schoolwork, just because they put so much time in for me to be here and supporting me all the way."