The summer months bring hot weather, pool parties, and backyard barbecue cookouts. But they also lead to an endless stream of graduates ready to move on to the next phase of their lives.
It should come as no surprise that the graduates most often overlooked are the smallest. Even though it only means moving on to kindergarten, pre-K graduations are a big moment in a little one’s life.
Aubrey Toby was graduating from pre-K at Christian Prep Academy in Durham, North Carolina.
As Aubrey stood on the stage, clad in a purple graduate’s gown and cap with a yellow tassel, her family beamed with pride. Her godfather, Merle Murrain stood a short distance away, capturing the moment on his phone.
But it was what the 5-year-old pre-K graduate did with the spotlight that had everyone throwing their heads back in laughter. While the other students walked off the stage, Aubrey danced.
“Even as a baby, she loved to move to music,” Aubrey’s father, Malcolm, said to “Good Morning America.” “But the older she got, Aubrey seemed to really enjoy when the spotlight was on her.”
Aubrey punctuated her dance to Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop The Feeling,” with a spin that drew adoration from the crowd.
Aubrey’s godfather posted the video on Instagram, where it quickly went viral.
Murrain initially shared the video on his Instagram because he was so amused by his goddaughter. But he never thought the video would garner so much attention.
“All of a sudden, she’s on the news. And Aubrey runs in – and she’s like ‘that’s me on TV. Am I a star?’ And I’m like ‘Yeah baby, you’re a star.’ It was crazy,” Malcolm said to ABC 11.
Malcolm said that his daughter’s class rehearsed the graduation procedure, and he was surprised by her performance. But he also said that his daughter loves to perform, and the charisma she showed on graduation day isn’t out of character.
He was surprised by the attention the video is getting.
“Utter disbelief. I wasn’t prepared for it at all. Like I said, I know my child. She loves the attention, she loves just playing and things like that,” Malcolm said.
“But when she started walking off and the spin happened – I didn’t expect it at all.”
Aubrey’s teacher said she’s been coming out of her shell, and graduation day was proof.
Going to school is as much about improving social skills as it is learning ABCs and arithmetic. Charlyne Thomas, Aubrey’s pre-K teacher, has had a front row to the 5-year-old’s maturing personality.
“She’s just developed. Developed being in the classroom, intermingling with her friends, and just learning and developed. She has just sprouted, like a butterfly,” Thomas said to ABC 11.
Aubrey takes her talents to kindergarten, where she’ll have a new group of schoolmates and teachers to charm with her dance moves.
“She sings like it’s a Beyonce concert and likes to perform. She just likes to have fun,” Murrain said.