- (Photo: REUTERS/Adam Hunger)
A teen Tebowing during his graduation ceremony Saturday caused his diploma to be withheld by Florida school officials, who didn't want the high school senior's actions to be an "inspiration" for other antics.
Chuck Shriner, 17, of Bishop Verot's Catholic school, was bet $5 by his friends that he wouldn't go on stage and imitate the popular pose of the New York Jets' Christian quarterback. They underestimated him; he Tebowed on stage- dropping to one knee to pray- while parents and students erupted in laughter.
"I just thought it was fun," the teen told Naples News. "I was just doing it to make graduation memorable."
School administrators took the prank more seriously, however, thinking the act could lead to more shenanigans during ceremonies.
"They said what I did would give underclassmen inspiration to do something else, that it might lead to something else," Shriner explained. They then punished the football player to "set an example."
After the incident, Shriner was told that he would be cleaning up the gymnasium where the graduation was held as penance for his actions. In addition, his mother- a mathematics teacher at the school- had pushed for the graduate to have his diploma withheld.
"She's a math teacher there," said the student. "It was all her idea."
Apparently, she suggested the punishment to "teach him a lesson"- seniors were specifically instructed not to deviate from the normal walk across stage, but Shriner did it anyway.
"We were told not to mess around during [graduation]," said the senior.
While his diploma was withheld for a short time, eventually it was released to his mother. She also admitted to the senior what she had done, and how she had influenced school administrators to exacerbate the original penalty.
"She was really mad," said Shriner. "But I think it was worth it."
The senior's mom has at least one reason to be proud: her son is attending the University of Central Florida in the fall to study mechanical engineering. Shriner was similarly proud of his stunt, and posted it on Facebook for all to see.
"Moment in my life I'll never forget, getting my diploma taken away for doing the Tebow on stage in front of (Principal John) Cavell. So worth it," he wrote.