According to the Proviso Herald, Proviso East High School grads remembered Sunday a classmate who was killed one year ago.
The district awarded a diploma to student Tawanna Ford who was shot and killed in June 2008. She was on track to graduate a semester early in December.
Her mother, LaDana Ford, walked on stage at the UIC Pavilion and accepted the diploma for her daughter.
The 2009 graduating class included 304 students, most of whom were robed in blue. The top 10 percent of the class wore white, including the two valedictorians who spoke to their class: Dinishia Wolford and Clameirdre Prince.
Families packed the lower levels of the pavilion.
"This is our fourth graduation at UIC," Principal Milton Patch said. "It's great for parents, you never know what the weather is going to be like. So whether it's too hot outside or there's a rainstorm, this prevents that from happening in the ceremony."
School board President Emanuel "Chris" Welch said he has never missed a graduation in the nine years he has been on the board.
"This was fantastic," he said. "The tradition we started of holding the ceremony at UIC gives students the opportunity to invite more people."
Patch said this graduation was a special one for him as well. "There were several students I had graduate as elementary students in 1988 who wound up graduating with me again in high school," he said.