Jay Sowers / The Natchez Democrat — With his cousin Zachary Robinson looking on,  2013 Natchez High School graduate Dillon West, left, looks over the interior of his new Chevrolet Malibu, which his mother had bought for him as a graduation present.
Jay Sowers / The Natchez Democrat — With his cousin Zachary Robinson looking on, 2013 Natchez High School graduate Dillon West, left, looks over the interior of his new Chevrolet Malibu, which his mother had bought for him as a graduation present.

NHS senior surprised with new car as graduation gift

Published 12:10am Tuesday, June 4, 2013

NATCHEZ Graduation day is special for most graduates, but last week’s Natchez High graduation was just a bit more special for Dillon West.

Just moments after receiving his diploma on Friday evening, West’s family tossed him the keys to a 2012 Chevrolet Malibu.

West’s mother, Tonie Robinson, said she had been planning to purchase the car for her son for a long time and thought that graduation day was a perfect time to reveal his gift.

Jay Sowers / The Natchez Democrat — West stands with his mother, Tonie Robinson, in front of the new car.
Jay Sowers / The Natchez Democrat — West stands with his mother, Tonie Robinson, in front of the new car.

“He’s a good kid, and he did good in school,” Robinson said. “I’ve never had any problems with my child.”

“I just feel he deserved it.”

Robinson had purchased the car on Thursday and picked it up from the dealership on Friday morning, just hours before the commencement ceremony at NHS.

She kept the sleek, silver sedan tucked out of sight at a family member’s house until the time was right.

As Robinson dropped her son off on one side of the school on Friday afternoon, West’s cousin, Zachary Robinson, pulled the new car around the other side and found a parking spot that West couldn’t miss after the ceremony.

When he emerged from the cafeteria with his newly graduated classmates, West said he couldn’t believe what he found waiting outside for him.

“I wish I could have seen the look on my on face,” West said.

Zachary, who covered the car in old photos of his cousin and streamers, said he was just as excited to be a part of the surprise as Dillon was to receive it.

“I was too excited,” Zachary said. “I was excited like it was mine.

Jay Sowers / The Natchez Democrat — West turns up the radio while sitting in his new Chevrolet Malibu.
Jay Sowers / The Natchez Democrat — West turns up the radio while sitting in his new Chevrolet Malibu.

Zachary said his cousin’s reaction was exactly what he had hope it would be.

“His breath stopped and his eyes bugged out,” Zachary said. “He didn’t know if it was a prank.

“It was priceless.”

Even though he has had a few days to drive the car and show it off to friends, West said that everything that happened on Friday — the graduation and the gift — is still sinking in.

“It feels great to know that I’ve got a car and I’m done with school,” West said. “And I’m done with testing.”

West will be attending Alcorn State University in the fall on a band scholarship and is hoping to major in computer networking.

Talking with his mother over the weekend, West said that while the band schedule will keep him busy on the weekends, his new wheels will make home just a little closer when he needs to spend time with his family.

“I love my mom, my grandma, my dad, and everybody else in the family,” West said.

“Now I’ve got no excuse not to visit them.”