ALLENDALE, S.C. (WJBF) – Orando Terlonge walked down the aisle and received his diploma Tuesday evening at a school community meeting in Allendale County.
“I wanted to graduate with my class and my friends, but unfortunately, that didn’t happen,” Orando Terlonge said.
“It broke me down because no child deserves for this to happen. I feel like if only they were taking some time to pay attention to things, it could have been a whole lot different,” Orando’s mom Tamika Miller added.
The delay in graduation was due to misinformation. “They told me that he needed to have [taken] certain subject areas. And so I was trying to prepare. They said that he needed to do adult education and try to do these subjects that he failed,” Miller said.
However, it was later discovered that Orando was indeed eligible, but there was a mix-up with their transcript. “It was when the school that I signed him up for requested his transcript, they were like, no, he’s more than qualified to have graduated. He had what he needed and then some,” she said.
“There were some glitches with his transfer of credit, so we got that all straight. He didn’t get to walk across the stage, but we had to make sure we rectified it all,” Superintendent Dr. Vallerie Coath Cave added.
The family expresses frustration and disappointment over the situation, as Orlando missed out on significant milestones such as prom and felt less of a person due to the delay.
“I’m a very tough parent, and so I don’t believe in rewarding,” Miller shared. “And I felt that that would’ve been a reward for me to buy all of these things and send him to prom. Seeing that he didn’t, he wasn’t qualified to even graduate, and he wasn’t getting a high school diploma.”
Orando acknowledges while the situation will never be perfect because of the delay, he’s relieved to have received his diploma and can now celebrate with family. “I plan on going to college and play sports in college,” he shared.
The family received an apology from the administration. “Ms. Jacobs, she just came in as the interim superintendent, and she’s the one who apologized after we had a meeting and said she would try to do whatever she could to make it somehow make it up to my son.”
Miller emphasizes the need to prevent similar situations from happening in the future.
“As an educator myself, I just wouldn’t want for any other child to go through what my son went through prior to today.”