ADRIAN COLLEGE (By Mickey Alvarado) — A big military secret was revealed during Adrian College’s Spring Commencement on Sunday, May 1 when U.S. Army Sergeant Jordan Bailey stepped onto the stage after hiding from behind a curtain to present his twin brothers, Trevor and Tyler Usher, their undergraduate degrees.
Bailey, currently stationed at Fort Drum, New York, was unable to attend his two brother’s high school graduations due to military duties and had not seen them in four years, so he reached out to Adrian College President Jeffrey Docking and asked about surprising Trevor and Tyler by presenting their degrees.
Docking immediately had his staff get the ball rolling to set up the secret operation.
The family, from Kalamazoo, had been invited to attend the event and were given VIP seating after being told one of the twins had won a raffle for the special treatment.
“I had to figure out how to get the family seated up front and a raffle was the only thing I could think of,” said Melissa Freshcorn, Adrian College Executive Administrative Assistant, Office of Academic Affairs. Freshcorn said she believes this may be the first time Adrian College has had this type of secret surprise at a commencement.
Bailey was placed in Adrian College’s guest house to keep him out of sight and when commencement started he was stashed behind the stage’s curtains where he could watch the ceremony through a live stream feed.
Most of the family was none the wiser — grandma was tipped off — and they all erupted in cheers when Bailey was revealed. When he finally walked onto the stage, Trevor and Tyler embraced their older brother and fought back the tears.
Bailey then presented Trevor a Bachelor in Business Administration in Sports Management and Tyler a Bachelor of Science in Biology.
The brother’s mother and father, Christi and Chris Usher, were away from their extended family in the photo staging area when Bailey walked onto the stage. Christi immediately burst into tears when she heard the announcer inform the crowd of his presence.
“I couldn’t wrap my brain around any of it,” Christi said of the event unfolding. “I thought I was going to fall over!”
She didn’t know why they would call the twins to the stage at the same time and wondered why each couldn’t have their own time in the limelight.
“Their whole life, 24-7 they’ve been together,” Christi said. “So, when they called Trevor’s name and all the sudden called Tyler, we were all like, ‘dude, what’s going on?’ Can’t Trev’ have his own minute?”
Moments later, the family figured out why.
It wasn’t until later that evening she found out Bailey had reached out to Docking.
“What 25-year-old does that for his brothers?” Christi said. “It was unfathomable that he set that up on his own.”
After commencement, Adrian College President Jeffrey Docking met with the family and even joined them for photos.
“He was just so gracious,” Christi said.
“What a special group of people,” Docking said of the Ushers and their extended family. “It was an honor to help Sergeant Bailey present his brothers with their degrees. That moment will be cherished by them, and the Adrian College community, for many years to come!”
The brothers received a standing ovation from those in attendance.
Christi and Chris felt bad for the next graduate in line behind their boys and hope they and their family were able to enjoy their special moment on stage as well. His name was Zachary B. Van Antwerp, and the Traverse City native received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management.
To watch the full 2022 Spring Commencement, go online to youtube.com/c/AdrianBulldogs/videos.