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SONIC Carhop Surprised With Valedictorian Honor in Colorado

By Raj Prashad

For high school seniors across the country, the end of the 2020 school year came with an unfamiliar celebration. With COVID-19 effectively shutting down social gatherings, many students were left unable to walk the stage at their senior graduation, say their goodbyes to friends and teachers and in some instances, enjoy the festivities with their families.

That was the case for local SONIC Drive-In team member Jackson Lambert in Colorado Springs. Unbeknownst to him, Lambert was named valedictorian at the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind and his principal and family were trying to find a unique way to surprise him with the news. So, they reached out to general manager Miranda Gonzales to coordinate a celebration at the drive-in.

“The past few weeks have been full of wonderful surprises and if I were to highlight them with one word, I would say I felt acknowledged,” Lambert said. “I was completely shocked and thrilled when I learned that my principal and boss planned a surprise for me. I feel thankful to have so many people acknowledge my accomplishments and support me.”

Jack Lambert, 18, gets a surprise announcement that he is his senior classes’ valedictorian at the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind from his principal, teachers, family and friends who surprised him while he was working at Sonic Drive-In.

A day after holding Lambert’s surprise, Gonzales put on a larger celebration to honor all of the seniors that work at the Colorado Springs Drive-In.

“It’s important to have moments of celebration and recognition,” Gonzales said. “I’ve been at SONIC for 13 years and I always want to make sure our team members feel a sense of accomplishment in their work, whether it’s graduating from high school or being named as the employee of the month. It’s more than just a job to me and I care about each of them individually.”

For Lambert, graduating was the culmination of hard work, balancing time at school and the drive-in since he was 16 years old. It’s that drive and dedication that makes Lambert a guest favorite in Colorado Springs and a true inspiration for his team.

“Over the years, Jackson has gone from a carhop, to running sales, to bagging food and he’s going to become a crew leader at our drive-in,” Gonzales said. “There’s no limit to what he can do and he constantly reminds us that no matter how hard life gets, you can accomplish anything.”