Graduating seniors at a North Carolina high school were floored when their principal surprised them with an acapella rendition of the popular ballad "I Will Always Love You" at the commencement ceremony.
A video of Marcus Gause – the principal of T. Wingate Andrews High School in High Point – serenading his students with the iconic Dolly Parton song also made famous by Whitney Houston instantly went viral.
Here is the clip of Gause saluting the graduating class of 2021 with his powerful and moving performance.
Graduates on the athletic field and their families from the stands were captivated by his stunning voice. They intermittently cheered him on throughout the performance.
People online were also moved by the principal's singing and praised him for the passion he has for his students.
In a video with ABC News, Gause said:
"Of course, there was a nervousness because nobody sings behind Whitney Houston and the greats like Dolly Parton, but the lyrics were really what I was trying to portray to my students."
"One of the things that the pandemic has really taught us is that we need more love, that students know that we love and care for them.
You can watch the interview, below.
Principal sings 'I Will Always Love You' in farewell to students | WNT youtu.be
The song was originally written and recorded in 1973 by beloved country singer Dolly Parton, whose version of the song hit the number one spot on the Billboard Hot Country Song chart twice – first in June 1974, and then in October 1982 with her re-recording for the soundtrack of the movie adaptation,The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.
Here is Parton's live 1974 performance of "I Will Always Love You."
Dolly Parton - I Will Always Love You 1974 youtu.be
The song has been covered numerous times by artists such as Linda Ronstadt, Amber Riley, and LeAnn Rimes.
But "I Will Always Love You" is most notable for Whitney Houston's 1992 rendition of the song.
It was recorded for the soundtrack of the film The Bodyguard – which featured Houston in a starring role opposite Kevin Costner playing the eponymous character.
Here is the music video of Houston's "I Will Always Love You."
Whitney Houston - I Will Always Love You (Official 4K Video) youtu.be
Houston's version of the iconic song – which spent 14 weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart – is considered one of the best-selling singles of all time.
But for the graduating seniors of T. Wingate Andrews High, Principal Gause's heartfelt performance at their commencement ceremony will be the rendition of the song that will stay with them forever.