WAVERLY, Neb. (AP) — A student from Nebraska who died after a long battle with illness will be recognized at her high school’s graduation ceremony, thanks to a compromise between the senior class and school administrators.
A statement released Thursday by Waverly High School’s senior class says they will observe a moment of silence for 17-year-old McKenna Smith and her family at the start of the commencement ceremony Sunday. A purple floral arrangement on the main stage will also commemorate McKenna. She died in July from an incurable degenerative brain disease called juvenile Huntington’s disease.
School officials had rejected students’ original idea of leaving a chair empty for McKenna, citing school policies. After receiving backlash, administrators and seniors found common ground.
The statement says the students are fortunate “to have had our voices heard.”