"It brought me and my dad closer," Tori Roach says of recreating her dad's graduation photo
With graduation season in full swing, students everywhere are sharing photos of their milestone moments, but one father-daughter duo’s celebratory shots are making their way through social media again — thanks to an internet-breaking throwback photo!
Tori Roach, 19, shared a sweet picture on Twitter of her big day in May 2018 as she graduated from Huntsville High School in Texas, and used the opportunity to honor her father. In a throwback shot, the little girl is shown as a baby in her father’s arm as he celebrated his own graduation from the same school in a green cap and gown.
Alongside that shot, the recent high school graduate shared a photo of herself again perched on her father’s arm as he planted a kiss on her cheek.
“18 years later,” she wrote, including a pair of emoji.
“For everyone asking, yes this is my dad, he’s 37, and no he isn’t single,” she wrote in a follow-up tweet. “I have another sibling on the way.”
The tweet quickly went viral last year, amassing thousands of retweets.
“I’m from a small town and nothing like that ever happens over here,” Roach tells PEOPLE. “I didn’t expect it to blow up like that! Once it started happening, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh!’ I called my family and I was like, ‘Everyone’s sharing the pictures!’ ”
It garnered attention again over the weekend, as internet users everywhere scrolled through the onslaught of graduation pictures. Roach says it racked up thousands of additional retweets.
“I woke up and I had a ton of notifications … People had started sharing and liking and commenting all over again,” Roach tells PEOPLE. “My dad was really proud. We’re from a small town, so nothing like this really ever happens. And he was like, ‘That’s so cool!’ “
Roach — who lives with her father Dennis Roach, stepmother Jamie Roach and new baby brother Silas Roach in Huntsville — says her family found the old photo last year as they looked around for baby pictures of Roach to display at her graduation party.
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It was her aunt’s idea for the father-daughter duo to recreate the photo, she says.
“It was really cool because it was the same place that he graduated from!” Roach tells PEOPLE, noting that she felt just a bit awkward sitting in her father’s arm to pose for the photo. “For me to be in the same place that he was 18 years before that, it was really cool.”
She adds: “It brought me and my dad closer in a way because we could share that moment, and I feel that not many other people get to experience that.”
Now, Roach is a student at Sam Houston State University and says she plans to recreate the photo again when she graduates from the school in 2022.
“It’s in the same town that I was born and raised in,” she gushes. “When I graduate from Sam, it’ll be in the same stadium that I graduated in from high school and the same stadium that he graduated in from high school.”