WCPSS to recognize deceased students at graduation

With high school graduations right around the corner, there has been question as to whether or not seniors who passed away during the school year will be recognized during the ceremony. For former seniors Rachel Rosoff and Laura Jenkins, it turns out they will be recognized at their school’s graduation ceremony after all.

Former Enloe High School senior Rachel Rosoff was electrocuted and drowned on Sept. 3, 2016 at the Heritage Point subdivision pool. “The pool water was electrified when a pump motor stopped working properly, and a corroded wire prevented the flow of electrify that would have tripped the circuit breaker,” The News and Observer reported. Sadly, this tragedy occurred a week into Rosoff’s senior year. The Rosoff family wants to do all they can to keep Rachel’s memory alive. She was known to be a bright and hardworking student, and she sought adventure everywhere she went. Her parents said she had big plans. “She was special,” the mom said. “I know every mom says that about their kid, but she really was.”

Enloe High School faced a lot of backlash earlier this month; numerous media outlets reported that the school was not planning to mention Rosoff’s name during the graduation ceremony. The decision was reversed due to an online petition that argued to change the school’s mind. It received support from about 13,500 people. “We are very grateful for their decision and thank Wake County for working with us and recognizing the importance of having our daughter recognized at what would be her graduation,” Rachel’s mother, Michelle Rosoff, said in a text. The plan is to have a vase placed on the stage and a moment of silence during the ceremony.

Laura Jenkins was another Wake County senior that sadly passed away this school year. Jenkins went to Leesville Road High School, and she passed away on March 17 in a car accident. She was driving near her family’s home in North Raleigh when she hit another car and left the scene. Her body was then found in the woods two days after the accident had taken place. Kristina Harms, Jenkin’s mother, asked the school’s administration to recognize her daughter in some way during the school’s graduation ceremony. She was told it would not be allowed. However, Harms later said that Leesville’s principal told her that they will indeed include her daughter in the ceremony’s printed program. In addition, they plan to recognize her during the ceremony. More than 2,300 people signed an online petition urging the school to recognize the former senior. Harms further stated that schools do not need to shy away from recognizing students that have passed away. While the WCPSS does not have a specific policy about recognizing deceased students, school administrators are allowed to ask families if they wish to have their student recognized.

Graduation is such an exciting time for so many students, and it marks a significant milestone in one’s academic career. Although these seniors are no longer with us today, it is very heartwarming to know that they will still be remembered during what would be their high school graduation.

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