Captain Ray with GMA mascot and reporter Ike Ejochi

In the early morning hours of January 11, 2024, students, staff, cameras and production crew filled the gymnasium of Community High School (CHS). This special event was not for a sporting event, but a surprise that took months to orchestrate. 

Good Morning America (GMA) learned about Captain Ray of CHS from a story posted by Buncombe County Schools (BCS) in September 2023. After hearing about this unsung hero of BCS, GMA reached out to feature Captain Ray in the “Ray of Sunshine” series that promotes hometown heroes across the country. 

“This was a once in a lifetime experience,” said CHS Principal Cathy Haughney. “Keeping this a secret was tough. I had to send Captain Ray out of the building to ‘help’ other schools while GMA worked behind the scenes doing interviews and set up.”

During the show, Captain Ray sat in a “meeting” with Assistant Principal Kevin Roberson as students, marching band, staff, and his loved ones waited with excitement. Once Captain Ray entered the gym, cheers erupted for him, and an energy of love for one man filled the space. 

“This was a whole new experience for me,” said sophomore Eli Galloway. “It was so much fun to see everyone come together for Captain Ray, and show him the love and support he deserves.” 

For many at CHS and in the local community Captain Ray has been there to lend a helping hand or be a listening ear. His compassion shines through in everything he does. 

“Surprising Captain Ray was emotional, because he truly is a kind soul,” said senior Autumn Frisbee. “He deserves this and so much more for what he does.”

As part of the surprise, GMA gave Captain Ray a trip to Las Vegas along with tickets to see Lionel Richie in concert. For him, this will be his first time on an airplane. From all of us at BCS, we hope Captain Ray has a memorable trip. 

Click here to read the original story about Captain Ray:

To watch the GMA broadcast click here:

Captain Ray being greeted in the hallways of Community High with cheers.