Cal Ripken Jr. surprises Pocomoke High School
"Don't get me wrong, I was really excited," Jones said. "But we don't have a lot of them because Principal Wallace says she want us learning in the classroom."
Pocomoke High School Principal Annette Wallace told students that the assembly would be a final push in their social media campaign to bring former Baltimore Orioles shortstop Cal Ripken Jr. to the school's 2015 graduation.
In October, students initiated the campaign on Twitter using the hashtag #wewantcal. They uploaded plenty of photos, including one of students positioned in the shape of an 8, Ripken's number when he was an Orioles player.
At the start of Wednesday's assembly, Wallace told students to Tweet about how much they wanted Ripken to attend graduation.
Students giggled as fingers typed a mile a minute.
As if by Twitter magic, Ripken walked onto the stage and the entire audience erupted into applause.
Although his schedule would not allow him to attend the graduation, Ripken was able to come to the school in a surprise visit for free.
"So many people abuse social media," Ripken said. "I was just so flattered and impressed by how well these kids were using it to unite together for a common goal."
Wallace believes the campaign has been a great way to teach digital responsibilities to students.
"Our job isn't to teach kids how to (use) social media. Trust me, they know how to use every account out there, plus the ones I have never even heard about," Wallace said. "I do believe though, that our job is to make sure they understand how to use those accounts appropriately and professionally."
Students selected from a journalism class were allowed to ask Ripken questions during the assembly.
Student Nolan Lantz, 17, asked Ripken how he managed to balance school and athletics so well in high school.
Ripken laughed and said it was because he never did his homework.
"Just kidding," Ripken said. "The key to that balancing act is remembering that you have a commitment to school, first and foremost, and being able to play a sport is a reward. Don't get those two mixed up."
By Hannah Carroll, DelmarvaNow