Oscar Tshiebwe Made UK Graduation Day Even More Special for Danville Family


Oscar Tshiebwe with Laurie and Katie Kirk after UK’s graduation ceremony. (Joey Kirk Photo)

It was a frustrating start to her daughter’s graduation day at the University of Kentucky for Laurie Kirk of Danville.

She left Danville at 7 a.m. with her husband, Joey, for the 9 a.m. ceremony at Rupp Arena. Normally that’s no more than a one-hour drive from Danville.

“We sat in traffic forever. We could see Rupp Arena and it still took another hour to get there,” Kirk said Friday. “Katie is sending us videos and taking selfies.”

Kirk, a life-long UK sports fan, noticed Kentucky basketball All-American Oscar Tshiebwe in the background of the photos/video.

“We finally get there and Katie says there is a reception (for graduates) that she wants to go to,” Kirk said.

As they are heading into the reception, Tshiebwe is headed out.

“I don’t even give him a chance. I walked up and put my arms around him and told him we need a picture with you,” Kirk said. “He was so sweet. It was really nice of him to take time to do that.

“I kind of felt like, ‘I know you because I watch you play all the time, so you need to know me.’ I just felt a personal connection because he’s been my favorite player by far the last two years,” Kirk said.

“He was so friendly. I know it was probably annoying for a 50-something year old woman to ask to get a picture with him at graduation but he did.  Actually right before us, somebody snagged him before I did. But he was still so gracious and kind. He was everything I thought he would be.

“It was just a surreal moment and made graduation day even more special for us.”

Kirk texted the photo to several friends and one friend told her she had graduated with a future NFL quarterback and always mentioned that when she had a chance.

“She told me to make sure from now on that I drop that Katie graduated with Oscar and to put that picture up in my house,” Kirk said.

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