Terrance Dantzler was given his diploma from Barbara Sizemore Academy in the city's Englewood neighborhood. He was injured in a bus crash last year in Uganda that killed Chicago filmmaker David Steiner.
Steiner worked with Dantzler and Hayah Rasul on "Saving Barbara Sizemore," an award-winning indie documentary about the successful quest by students to keep Sizemore open after Chicago Public Schools voted to close it in 2015.
"The five of us learned we're a voice for our people, we're a voice for our school. We opened a lot of eyes," Dantzler said last year.
Steiner had taken a group of Sizemore students to Africa for the Nile Diaspora International Film Festival to screen their documentary. They had hoped to open even more eyes overseas and were set to work on another documentary on Sudanese refugee children.
"They were also going to be engaged in a second documentary where he was having them meet with Sudanese refugee children," said Dr. Carol Lee, co-founder of Betty Shabazz International Charter Schools.
"David was incredibly passionate about this project. It was his life," said Paul Christopher Greene, a filmmaker and friend of Steiner.
Steiner's family attended Tuesday's graduation ceremony.