Student asks for honorary diplomas for deceased friends - WNEM TV 5

Student asks for honorary diplomas for deceased friends

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This week, thousands of students across Mid-Michigan will walk the aisle and get their hard-earned high school diplomas.

But one local senior is pleading with school administrators to recognize members of her class who died before they could graduate. 

She's asking the school to issue honorary diplomas for her friends whose lives were tragically cut short.

Kayli Mead should be excited. She's graduating Thursday from Saginaw Heritage High School, but she said she can't overcome her feelings of sadness. 

"I really miss my friends," she said.

Mead said graduation won't be same without two of her best friends, AJ Stewart, who lost his battle with cancer earlier this year as a senior, and Lyle Largent, who passed away when he was a freshman.

Mead said the only thing that would make her graduation from Heritage complete is for the school to acknowledge her two late friends during graduation with honorary diplomas. She said she asked the school, but was told no.

"It makes me feel awful that they can't be recognized. They were students here that deserve to be recognized," she said.

A spokesman for the school said there's no mechanism in place to provide honorary diplomas. They have never issued one. It makes no sense to Mead.

Mead said she hopes school administrators change their mind before the ceremony on Thursday, but said if they don't she still plans on remembering her friends in her own way.

Saginaw Heritage High School officials have reached out to TV5 and stated that the district has a moment of silence for all deceased students at graduation every year. We're also told the parents of AJ Stewart received an honorary diploma at his funeral.

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