FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) – The graduating seniors at Trinity-Byrnes Collegiate School in Florence received a very special commencement speech from U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham on Saturday.
Sen. Graham was fulfilling a promise he made to Edward Buckhouse 16 years ago, when he helped facilitate his adoption with a Florence family when he came here from Russia. Sen. Graham said he would attend Buckhouse's high school graduation, and he came through.
Buckhouse said during his valedictory address that Sen. Graham helped expedite his adoption by many months, as international adoptions were put on hold after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Graham kept in contact with Buckhouse and his family throughout the adoption process.
"I am honored to be here," Sen. Graham said during his speech. "I made a promise to the family that I would be here…I didn't know I'd be alive when I was making that promise! Eddie, I'm going to be here when your grandkids graduate, which would put me at about 120, which would be a good thing for me."
The ceremony was held at 11 a.m. at the Francis Marion Performing Arts Center in Florence. Dozens of students with the Trinity Byrnes Class of 2018 received their diplomas, including valedictorians Buckhouse and Cameron Bennett Joyce. School chairman Dr. William Naso awarded the diplomas to the graduating class.