SoCal Mother Moves Daughter to Tears With Front Yard Graduation Celebration

"I wanted to do something to put a smile on her face and tell her we are proud of her."

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Navaeh Lujan is one of the many seniors forced to forgo final celebrations, sport games and dances, including the culmination of a high school experience: the graduation ceremony.

In addition, Lujan had to say an abrupt goodbye to the sport she has played since she was 4-years-old -- softball. She wore jersey No. 33 in memory of her late aunt who tragically passed away before moving on to play college softball.

Lujan said she was devastated when her time at Don Lugo High School in Chino abruptly ended on March 13 when the district announced they would begin distance learning through the school year in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Lujan's mother, Nancy Pimentel, saw the disappointment in her daughter and decided to throw a special celebration in their front yard.

She surprised her daughter with a decked out yard with mementos and graduation and softball photos that encapsulated her daughter's achievements at Don Lugo.

"I thought she was going to tell me 'You are so extra mom,' but instead she released all the emotions she had built up and cried," Pimentel said. "She is hurting and she finally let it all out."

"When I hugged her I had to stop recording because I started crying too," Pimentel said. "I wanted to see my first born walk up the stage and cheer for her."


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Photos: SoCal Mother Brings Special Graduation Celebration for Her Senior to Front Yard

Pimentel said she prepared for this moment and hand cut the decorations over a two week period -- all without her daughter knowing.

"I got off work early and put everything up in one day," Pimentel said. "I wanted to do something to put a smile on her face and tell her 'We are proud of her.'"

Lujan will attend Chico State University in the fall to pursue her passion for architecture and design.

"I am really blessed to have a mom who will go out her way to do this, because she did all of this by hand," Lujan said. "She actually cares that my senior year was taken away from me. I was really let down and I still am."

Due to the COVID-19 quarantine, high school graduation night and prom celebrations have been canceled. Kim Baldonado reports for the NBC4 News at 4 p.m. on Friday, April 17, 2020.

The Chino Valley Unified School District will host a virtual graduation on May 27, the original date of Lujan's commencement.

Lujan said she is looking forward to her college graduation from Chico State in 2024.

"I am excited for my name to be announced and look out into the crowd to see both sides of my family cheering and screaming for me," Lujan said.

Pimentel said Lujan's college graduation will be an unforgettable celebration.

"The class of 2020 made history," Pimentel said. "I will make her college graduation an even bigger deal because of what she had to miss out on in high school."

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