Someone You Should Know: Dad and His Grads

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Imagine growing up and your parent is the principal. It’s an experience the Bradfield children know well. It might seem like an interesting role, but it comes with special perks and experiences many families will never quite understand. Now, a nearly 20-year tradition for one family is coming to an end this weekend. KDLT’s Allison Royal introduces us to someone you should know.

Doctor Brett Bradfield has always valued education. Bradfield and his wife, Jane, are both teachers. The learning – lovers insisted their four children children, Brooke, Brittany, Blake, and Braden, go on to earn degrees – in fact, so much so, that Bradfield has physically handed the degrees to his children himself.

“How great of an honor it was to have our children in school,” said Bradfield. “We often got questions, you know, ‘was it difficult?’ I’m very pleased to say it was never difficult, at least for us. Maybe it was for them on the backside.”

Starting in 1999, Bradfield handed his daughters Brittney and Brooke their high school diplomas when they graduated from O’Gorman High School.

“I don’t think I’ve ever called him ‘Dr. Bradfield’ and I don’t foresee myself every doing that,” said Braden. “It’s always been ‘Dad’ and it’s always been that kind of relationship.”

Then, Bradfield moved on to University of Sioux Falls, where he had the special opportunity to hand all four of his children and both of his son-in-laws their undergraduate degrees. Then, he handed Brooke a master’s degree from USF, making it the ninth time he’s had the honor.

“The hugs have been many through the years as they came across the stage,” said Bradfield.

Now, this weekend will likely be the last time Bradfield has the opportunity to hand one of his children a well-earned degree. His youngest son, Braden, is suiting up to graduate with a master’s degree in education from USF, and his dad will be waiting for him on stage, beaming with pride.

“It’s kind of a surreal moment that you’ll never forget, that you were allowed to have that opportunity to have your parent physically give you something that you worked extremely hard for,” said Braden.

However, one family tradition will continue on. After graduation, Braden will join all three of his siblings and his parents in being a teacher in the Sioux Falls community. If there’s anything the Bradfield family values more than education, it’s family.

“At this point of life, it’s something that’s pretty special to be able to stand up there and actually do something that is a landmark in someone’s life, especially your own children,” said Bradfield.

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