NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) – Nacogdoches High School is preparing for a Candlelight Ceremony to honor their seniors.
Friday at seven p.m., the community will recognize 347 students who will walk at graduation.
But the vigil will shine light on three classmates, whose lives were cut short.
Kevin Wallace, Sheddrick Garrett and Rachel Barger will never walk the halls of Nacogdoches High School or graduate with their fellow classmates. All three passed away before their senior year, in separate health related illnesses.
"You miss your child but she would be very proud of her classmates," said Rachel's mother, Sherry Barger, who is also an English teacher at Nacogdoches High.
It's difficult for her to talk about the loss of her daughter, who is one of three who should have graduated with the class of 2010.
The seniors are determined to let Sherry and the other parents know, that their students' lives will forever be remembered.
They'll honor these three students, and the entire graduating senior class with the special ceremony.
"We are really honoring the families of the people we've lost and we don't want to forget," said senior class president Jessica Oswald.
"That's really important that these three names will stay with this school for years to come so their memories will never be forgotten," said senior class treasurer Samantha Whitbeck.
"Words can't express how comforting it is. I know it is to the other parents as well so we're very grateful, very honored," said Barger.
The seniors got the idea to host the ceremony from Lufkin High School. They feel it will be an appropriate way to recognize the graduating seniors, and family members of the three classmates who passed away, as they honor their parents with special gifts.
"If I wouldn't have gotten to walk across the stage, I would have wanted someone to remember," said senior class historian Allison Castellanos.
They will remember, as they celebrate life past and present.
"We're celebrating the lives of their students and we're celebrating the fact that they're part of our class always," said Whitbeck.
The senior class is also starting a scholarship in the memory of their three classmates.
You can donate to the scholarship at the candlelight ceremony, or by contacting the Alumni Association.