For the last 12 years, Kevin Scruggs has reached for the video camera on his daughter Mackenzie’s first day of school. But rather than film her getting on or off the school bus, the Washington-based dad would sit his daughter down for an interview, asking her about her day and what she was most looking forward to in the coming year.
The tradition that began when Mackenzie was just 6 years old and entering the first grade came to end last September on the first day of her senior year of high school.
This past weekend, when Mackenzie graduated high school, her dad presented her with a poignant gift: a video compilation of all her first days of school.
Scruggs posted the three-minute video, titled “Twelve Grades of ‘First Day’ Interviews — Happy Graduation Sweetheart,” to YouTube on Saturday. Since then, it has gone viral, gaining nearly 1 million views.
Over the course of the video, Mackenzie matures from a cherubic first grader excited about “coloring and writing” to a self-assured high schooler looking forward to “prom and graduation.” The footage captures milestones like when she started getting a lot of homework in fourth grade and joined student council in fifth. Mackenzie shared her excitement about starting junior high in seventh grade. But at the beginning of eighth grade, her father got emotional, sharing with his daughter that he was having a “hard time” because it was her final year before high school.
“I’m proud of you, but daddy is a little sad,” he lamented.
One of the most candid moments came on Mackenzie’s first day tenth grade, when she admitted she was most excited about going to “football games” and “looking for cute boys.” But the one common thread woven through each and every year was the sweet sign-off Scruggs and his daughter would share.
“I love you, sweetie,” the father always says, to which Mackenzie quickly replies, “I love you too.”
In an interview with the Daily Mail, Scruggs said that he recorded the conversations each year as a way to reflect and remember. He also hoped it would inspire his children to one day do the same for their kids.
“I know my kids are going to grow up and I want to seize the opportunity, seize that first day of high school,” he said. “When they’re gone and off to bigger and better things, my wife and I can sit down and look back on those moments.”
(H/T: Daily Mail)