Because she was hit by a drunk driver coming home from a movie in Denton, Frankie Sprabary was homebound during her final semester at Lewisville High School and was not able to graduate with her fellow students.

With the help of Lewisville ISD administrators, Sprabary was able to join the Class of 1946 as an honorary graduate.

The graduation took place among students and staff Monday, Feb. 6 in the LHS Stuver Auditorium. The honorary ceremony resembled a real graduation, complete with programs, speeches, performances and prayer.

“Today is one of the most important days of my life,” she said at the reception after the ceremony. “I’ve dreamed for years that I was back in Lewisville High School, studying for my exams, and getting ready to graduate and receive my diploma.”

Sprabary, 88, became a trained opera singer, who performed in churches across the United States and Europe. She is an artist skilled in painting, watercoloring and charcoal sketching. Sprabary taught herself to play the piano and the organ.

She helped compile a book documenting the history of Chinn’s Chapel in Lewisville and served on the church’s Board of Trustees. Sprabary was the featured soloist at the Temple Baptist Church for 20 years.

 

The foyer of LHS' Stuver Auditorium was decorated with balloons, "Congrats Grad!" banners and various photos from Frankie Sprabary's life to celebrate Sprabary's honorary graduation. (Photo by Christina Ulsh)
The foyer of LHS’ Stuver Auditorium was decorated with balloons, “Congrats Grad!” banners and various photos from Frankie Sprabary’s life to celebrate Sprabary’s honorary graduation. (Photo by Christina Ulsh)

Sprabary married her high school sweetheart, H.L. Sprabary, who was also in the car accident but was able to graduate. She moved away with him when he joined the military, returning to Lewisville in 1976 when he retired. He is now deceased.

LHS Principal Jeffrey Kajs provided the biographical information during his opening remarks of the ceremony.

“Students, Ms. Sprabary this includes you, today is about never giving up, never giving in… and forever chasing your passion. Regardless of the barriers placed in front of you and the path you decide to take, nothing can replace family, nothing can replace being a Fighting Farmer,” he said, his voice trembling towards the end.

Superintendent Kevin Rogers gave the commencement address, noting that the Class of 1946 probably had 30 students in it. A little bit has changed over the passing 70 years, and there are about 1,000 students who walk the stage each year currently, he said.

“But something that has not changed is the pride of being a Lewisville Fighting Farmer, and I want you to know that,” Rogers said. “Therefore by the authority vested in me by the state of Texas and the Lewisville Independent School District Board of Trustees, I grant Frankie Charlene Lester Sprabary an honorary diploma as an honorary member of the Class of 1946.”

With “Pomp and Circumstance” resonating throughout the auditorium, Sprabary approached the stage when Kajs called her name. The room erupted in cheers, applause and whistling.

Frankie Charlene Lester Sprabary moves her tassel from the right side of her cap to the left, signifying she received her diploma. (Photo by Christina Ulsh)
Frankie Charlene Lester Sprabary moves her tassel from the right side of her cap to the left, signifying she received her diploma. (Photo by Christina Ulsh)

Kajs told Sprabary she could turn her tassel from the right of her cap to the left of it. After she walked across the stage, students and staff in the auditorium sang the school song.

“The song [is sang] in times of victory, in times of loss, in times of sorrow, in times of joy. It unites us with 119 years of students that were here before us,” Kajs said. Today we sing the song in a time of celebration.”

A reception in the foyer followed the closing remarks of the ceremony. Sprabary spoke of her life of success and thanked the administrators for preparing this day for her. She also addressed the present students.

“The success you achieve will partly depend on the education you get, especially here at Lewisville High School,” Sprabary said. “My best wishes to all of you.”

Larry, Aleshia, Amilia and Paul Sprabary are her children. Chris, Victoria and Autumn Sprabary and Olivia Ceniceros are her grandchildren. Skylar Sprabary is her great grandchild.

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