Teen Finds Out She's Valedictorian While Working at Drive-Thru Amid School Closures Due to Coronavirus

With classrooms across the United States closed over coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns, a Michigan teen has learned that she’s her graduating class’ valedictorian when her school’s secondary principal showed up at her fast food workplace to let her know the exciting news.

In a heartwarming video circulating on social media, Michelle Floering — an educator at Grand Traverse Academy in Traverse City, Michigan — surprises high school senior Kaitlyn Watson by visiting the drive-thru window where she works. As many restaurants are still open for takeout amid the ongoing pandemic, Floering use the unique opportunity to share the huge announcement.

The educator shares in the clip, “Hey, so I’m at Culver’s where Kaitlyn Watson is working and I’m about to tell her a huge announcement.”

After receiving her order from another employee, Floering then asks to see Watson at the drive-thru window to deliver the news.

“Hi Kaitlyn. So, I got you on camera because I want to announce something to you today,” she tells Watson. “You are GTA’s 2020 class valedictorian!”

“I am? Oh my gosh!” the student responds, jumping for joy. “Thank you so much!”

“You’re welcome. And I know we have to stay six feet away so I can’t give you a hug, but congratulations,” Floering says. “Well deserved.”

Watson’s coworker can also be heard congratulating her in the background.

The sweet video was first shared by Watson’s school on Facebook with the caption: “An extended school break and social distancing did not stop Michelle Floering, Secondary principal, from finding a way to give one of our seniors some exciting news! Congratulations, Kaitlyn!”

Floering also added from her personal account, “Something to celebrate!! 😁”

Educators across the country have been finding creative ways to interact with their students amid school closures. For example, a North Carolina kindergarten teacher has been reading books to her pupils over video as bedtime stories.

“I knew it was really important for kids to still hear me and see me and for me to let them know that things will be okay,” teacher Amy Brantley of Kensington Elementary School tells PEOPLE amid the coronavirus outbreak. “I know they’re hearing it from their parents at home, but I think hearing it from the teacher they spend so much time with is important too.”

“It feels really good knowing that they get some part of their normal lifer back, even if it’s just for a short period of time,” she says. “But for those 25 minutes, I give them some part of their normal life because this is not normal.”

As of Thursday evening, there have been at least 83,329 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 1,222 deaths in the U.S., according to a New York Times database. The nation now has more known cases than any country.

Worldwide, there are now at least 511,603 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 23,067 deaths from coronavirus-related illness.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.

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