TODAY   |  July 09, 2012

Parents give grad gift 13 years in the making

In honor of her high school graduation, Brenna Martin’s parents presented her with a copy of “Oh the Places You’ll Go!” signed by every one of her teachers since she was five years old. Brenna and her parents Bryan and Evelynn chat with TODAY’s Natalie Morales about the touching gift.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> your parents get you for your high school graduation? when their daughter brenna was five years old, brian and martin decided they would have each of her teachers write a comment to her in a copy of dr. seuss's "oh, the places you'll go." brenna was so happy with her gift she posted online. to date 20 million people viewed her blog. brenna martin is here with us exclusively along with her mom and dad . good morning to all of you. i love this idea. what a great story. tell me, where did you get the idea, the inspiration to collect comments from teachers over the years.

>> i'm not that original. an elementary school principal and parent had a copy of the book and wanted a couple of teachers to sign it and me to sign it. i thought, wouldn't that be neat if you expand that and did it over the course of high school .

>> i know this is something a lot of high school graduates get for graduation. when you looked at it, did you think, a book, great. when you opened it, what was your reaction?

>> exactly. at first i thought it was kind of a standard graduation gift and thought it was really sweet. when i first opened it -- my first page is my kindergarten teacher. i haven't talked to my kindergarten teacher since kindergarten. it took me back. when they explained it all and i looked through it, i don't know, there's really no words.

>> that's a gift of a lifetime . do you have favorite passages in there, comments from your teachers.

>> i think one of my favorites, my track coach from middle school who is jamaica. i'm not going to try to read in a jamaica accent.

>> that could be fun.

>> brenna , never stop running in the race of life regardless of the obstacles you face. continue to be that dedicated person that you are and i know you will succeed. it was great coaching you. coach baker.

>> so sweet. many, many over the years just like that. evelyn, i know brenna tweeted shortly after receiving the book. she said, i can't explain how moved i am by all this. somehow they kept it a secret all these years. how in the world did you keep it a secret ? where did you hide it?

>> it was in the top of the walk-in closet. there were times it would get put on a book shelf . one funny story. it stayed in the middle of an envelope. i don't know why. we had tossed it into a book shelf . i actually was cleaning for a change and had her assisting me and was pulling books off and handing them to her. i hit that and it hit me what it was. i thought oh, my gosh. i had to stealthily go and hide it somewhere else.

>> i don't remember this.

>> stayed in my office the last few years.

>> i heard a teacher even misplaced it at one point in time.

>> i didn't hear that story until years later. they said for a while we lost the book but found it, so it's all good.

>> i think so many parents have been so inspired with this. i know your blog had 20 million hits. you were even recognized recently at the university of north carolina asheville .

>> i went to my college orientation . a guy stopped me in the food line and said, i feel like i know you. i said, i don't know you. turns out he read it. that's when it became famous.

>> you must feel special. you have an amazing set of parents. a great example.

>> thank you. i love them so much pr.f

>> great to have you all here.