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M-PHS senior's brother returns from Afghanistan for her graduation

Marysville-Pilchuck High School senior Jordyn Nickolson embraces her brother, Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Justin Mickelson, who returned from his deployment to Afghanistan to attend her graduation on June 7. - Kirk Boxleitner
Marysville-Pilchuck High School senior Jordyn Nickolson embraces her brother, Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Justin Mickelson, who returned from his deployment to Afghanistan to attend her graduation on June 7.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

MARYSVILLE — One Marysville-Pilchuck High School senior got a graduation present that made everyone at that evening's commencement ceremony stand up and applaud.

Shortly before the Class of 2013 filed into the John Linden Fieldhouse on Friday, June 7, Principal Andrew Frost addressed them in the M-PHS auditorium.

"We're doing something new this year," Frost said, before calling M-PHS senior Jordyn Nickolson up to the stage, ostensibly to join a motivational speaker.

When Jordyn turned around, she found her brother, Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Justin Mickelson, returned from his deployment to Afghanistan and holding a bouquet of flowers.

"I didn't know what to say," said Jordyn, who hadn't expected to see Justin until Christmas. "My heart was racing really fast. I had no idea this was happening."

"I wasn't expecting a standing ovation," said Justin, a 2010 graduate of Stanwood High School who's served enlisted in the military for the past three years, and was reintroduced by Frost to the rest of the graduating seniors' families and friends during the commencement ceremony that followed. "This is definitely the most emotional homecoming I've ever had."

"I'm relieved, excited and still a bit shocked," Jordyn said. "I'll admit I cried, and I got a few of my friends to cry. I'm hoping to spend as much time with my big brother as I can."

"Now that our mom knows I'm home, I'm sure we'll make plans," said Justin, whose 15-day homecoming was kept under wraps from most of his family until that night. "After working hectic 14- and 16-hour days every day for the past four months, without any days to recuperate, I'm just looking forward to relaxing before I have to go back."

The Marysville Globe's full story on the M-PHS Class of 2013 graduation will appear in the June 19 issue of the paper, but look for it online the week of June 12.

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