This Woman Who Left Her High School Graduation Right After Receiving Her Diploma Is The Real Valedictorian

Tayler Michelle Gray didn’t expect to make waves after she graduated from high school, but a video of her getting her diploma has now been shared thousands upon thousands of times. It’s not because Gray shared some truly profound insights with her graduating class, though. She didn’t even do impressions of the presidential candidates! Instead, she got her diploma, walked off the stage, and continued walking right on out of the building, living out the dream of anyone who’s ever wanted to flip the finger to high school and never look back.

Watch Gray walking off below:

“I walked out because I got my diploma and there was no reason for me to stay for the rest of it,” Gray told BuzzFeed. “I didn’t want to sit with all the people. That’s a lot of traffic to sit in after.”

Some may criticize Gray for glibly saying that she “didn’t want to sit in all that traffic,” after receiving her diploma, but there’s way more to this story than meets the eye. Gray’s real reason for leaving? She’s been done with high school since her junior year and her diploma was the only thing standing between her and the career she’s already embarking upon.

According to BuzzFeed, Gray had already decided that she wanted to be in the health industry by the time she got to high school. During her junior year, she enrolled in an online high school while also going to Lehigh Career and Technical Institute to pursue her dreams of becoming a nursing assistant at the same time. In March, while many of her peers were just thinking about final exams, she had already started working at a rehab facility for the elderly.

By the time graduation rolled around on June 14, Gray was already living a life in which high school had already ended. Did she want her diploma? Sure. But she wanted to spend the rest of her day with the people who were important to her, not in a room full of people she barely knew.

From BuzzFeed:

“I wanted them to see me graduate and see me walk,” she said. “I would’ve liked to spend that extra time with them than sitting through the whole ceremony.”

Because she spent so little time at Parkland, she also didn’t have many close friends in her class.

“There was no reason for me to sit there for the rest of it,” she said. “If I was being disrespectful I would’ve made a scene. I just minded my own business and kept walking.”

Honestly, the reason doesn’t even matter. What’s most important is that Gray bucked tradition and did exactly what all the people speaking at high school graduations always say — live life on your own terms and squeeze every moment of joy out of it. Gray went to Applebee’s afterward. It doesn’t get any more joyous than that!