Nearly four months after a school shooter took the lives of 17 people at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, four senior students killed in the attack have received posthumous diplomas at an emotional graduation ceremony.
Meadow Pollack, Carmen Schentrup, Joaquin Oliver, and Nicholas Dworet were all awarded diplomas, joining as the school’s graduating class of 784 students.
Oliver’s parents accepted the diploma on his behalf, taking to the stage wearing shirts saying “we demand a change” and “this should be my son”.
The parents of Joaquin Oliver, one of the students slain in the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas in February, walk on stage during graduation to accept his diploma.
— ABC News (@ABC) June 3, 2018
Hunter Pollack, Meadow’s brother, accepted her diploma.
April Schentrup, Carmen’s mother, took to Twitter to say it was “too painful” for her to attend, and instead shared a photo of her daughter in senior photo garb.
The Dworet family approached Alexandra Greenwald, a classmate and longtime friend of their son, to cross the stage for him.
The ceremony featured surprise guest Jimmy Fallon, who used his speech to praise the students’ advocacy in the aftermath of the tragedy, and commend their resilience.
“The first thing is this: when something feels hard, remember that it gets better,” Fallon said.
“Choose to move forward. Don’t let anything stop you.”