SACRAMENTO - Lance Cpl. Christopher Honeywood stepped onto the Golden 1 Center stage Wednesday as his sister was called up to receive her diploma.
Kali Honeywood had no idea her big brother was coming home.
"Oh, my gosh, my heart is pounding. I didn't see this coming at all. So I'm just really happy," the Cosumnes Oaks High School graduate told KTXL after the big surprise.
Christopher is stationed out of Camp Pendleton and has been on deployment in Darwin, Australia for around a year.
"Oh, man, it was great seeing my little sister graduate," he said.
The Honeywood family worked with the U.S. Marine Corps and Elk Grove Unified School District to pull off the surprise.
"I was like, 'What the heck?'" Kali said. "That's literally what I thought. I was like, 'Oh, my gosh, what are you doing here?'"
Like any siblings, growing up they had their disagreements.
"Little sisters do what little sisters do," Christopher said.
But now, Kali beams with pride at the sight of her big brother, and he couldn't be prouder of his bright sister.
"One hundred percent, I'm so proud of him. He's come so far," she said.
Now, Lance Cpl. Honeywood sees a confident young woman ready to thrive in college and happy to receive some words of wisdom from her favorite U.S. Marine.
"I'm super proud of you. Good job," he told his little sister. "Keep working hard, you know. Don't give up and then when you feel like giving up, just keep pushing."
"He means the world to me," Kali said.
Christopher will get to stay home in Elk Grove for a few days before his next deployment in Okinawa, Japan.
Kali plans to pursue musical theater and will begin her college career this fall at Cosumnes River College.