Holt's parents given diploma in his memory

June 6, 2008 9:00:16 PM PDT
Graduation season is usually a cause for celebration. But for the family of Blair Holt, it's a very solemn occasion. Holt would have received his high school diploma Friday had he not been gunned down last year while trying to protect a friend.

Julian High graduates celebrated their accomplishments and remembered their classmate who was shot and killed just over a year ago.

"I hope he's well in heaven. We're all thinking about him and love him," said Rachinda Smallwood, graduate.

"Rest in peace to my buddy Blair. I wish he could be here to see this day," said Arielle Townsel, graduate.

Holt's father was there, wearing a tie with his son's picture. His son's student I.D. hung around his neck.

"It's bittersweet," said father Ron Holt.

Blair Holt's father joined the procession, sending a message to his son's classmates.

"Life is what you make it, and I think these young people will learn today that as they graduate, they get their diplomas, it's a great achievement, a great accomplishment, a major milestone in their young lives," said Ron Holt.

Ron Holt is now on a mission to push education and the importance of graduating. In fact, Julian High is adding a special, three-year program in Blair Holt's memory. It will focus on law and public safety.

Along with announcing the program, Julian High recognized Blair Holt's parents for their courage and commitment. They know Friday is special yet difficult moment.

Along with Blair holt's diploma, Annette and Ron Holt also received a plaque from the high school to recognize their dedication to public service. One works for the Chicago Fire Department, the other for the Chicago Police Department.


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