HOPE, AR (KSLA) - There was some extra excitement at Hope High's graduation ceremony.
U.S. Army Lt. Col. Charles Conway hid from family members and friends Friday night outside the Southwest Arkansas school's Hempstead Hall.
"Every time everybody would call me and ask me if I was coming to town, I kept telling them 'No, I'm deployed in Afghanistan," Conway explained.
"So when I'm on Facebook, I just kept saying 'Hey, I'm in Afghanistan, baby, I wish I could be there' and just kept sending her good messages."
Not wanting to miss such a big milestone in his daughter's life, Conway got approved for leave from his deployment.
"Coming out of Afghanistan, it's a great honor to be able to get out of there and come over here and celebrate her special day with her."
Conway worked with school leaders and recorded a video message for his daughter and other members of the Class of 2018 that was shown at the end of the ceremony.
Ja'Brea Conway had no idea her father would there to greet her just moments after receiving her diploma.
Leaving not a dry eye in the audience.
"You got me crying sentimental and stuff. I didn't expect it but he's here now so I'm happy," Ja'Brea Conway said.
Her father said: "It was an awesome, great experience. I wouldn't change it for the world. Glad to be here, glad to be able to get away."
Ja'Brea Conway plans to begin attending the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana in the fall.
Meantime, she's just enjoying quality time with her Dad before he returns to Kabul, Afghanistan, on May 22 to finish out his deployment.