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Y’ville grad following in grandfather’s footsteps

Photo submitted to Times Observer Youngsville High School Senior Jacob DeSimone poses for a photo with his grandfather Donald Johnson prior to Commencement. On Friday, DeSimone will walk the Broadwalk. Johnson graduated from Youngsville High School and walked the Broadwalk in 1949.

The Broadwalk has special significance to Donald Johnson of Youngsville.

It will have even more in a few days.

In 1949, Johnson walked the Broadwalk upon his graduation from Youngsville High School.

On Friday, more than 70 years later, Johnson will see his grandson, Jacob DeSimone, do the same.

“My son idolizes his grandfather,” Mary DeSimone — Jacob’s father and Johnson’s daughter — said.

She is excited to see the generations add a shared special event to their already strong bond.

Johnson went on to teach at the school for 36 years.

Mary attended Youngsville schools. She is now a teacher at Youngsville Elementary School.

Like her son, she graduated on a Friday, June 5. But the Broadwalk tradition skipped her generation. It had fallen away by the time of Mary’s graduation.

The family is happy that the Broadwalk is making a come-back and hope to see it continue into the future.

“When I told my dad about it, he was excited,” DeSimone said. “They haven’t walked the Broadwalk since the late 1970s. He is excited for the efforts they’re putting forth to make it a tradition again.”

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