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Columbine seniors graduate under the shadow of shooting

Columbine High School graduates bow their heads in a moment of silence for shooting victims Townsend, Shoels and Sanders


Georgia school reopens after Thursday shooting rampage

Columbine parent, student shocked by Georgia school shootings


School shootings

Guns under fire


Recent school shootings


Are schools safe?


May 22, 1999
Web posted at: 2:20 p.m. EDT (1820 GMT)

ENGLEWOOD, Colorado (CNN) -- Columbine High School's class of 1999 graduated Saturday beneath a brightly lit spring sky -- and the glare of national television cameras.

Columbine was thrust into the spotlight on April 20 when two of its seniors shot their way through the school, killing 12 fellow students and a teacher. Twenty-three others were injured, and the two shooters -- Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris -- killed themselves.

Saturday's graduation went on like thousands of other high school graduations across the country, with robes and mortar boards, out-of-town relatives, and student speeches looking to the future.

But the 440 graduating seniors were also looking to their recent past. Two seniors -- Lauren Townsend and Isaiah Shoels -- were among the students killed on April 20.

"If we remember them all, then they can never leave us," senior Jennifer Wallick said to a sea of silver and blue graduation gowns. "Never let them go. They are waiting for us in that realm of pure blue, that mysterious place where the earth meets the sky."

Townsend's parents were expected to pick up their daughter's diploma Saturday. Shoels' family was not expected to attend, nor would Harris and Klebold be mentioned in the ceremony.

Columbine Principal Frank DeAngelis called for a moment of silence for the two students and one teacher -- Dave Sanders -- killed in the shooting.

townsends hug
DeAngelis embraces Townsend's parents as he presents them with Lauren's valedictorian plaque and cap and gown  

"Each of us will carry the spirit of Isaiah Shoels, Lauren Townsend and Dave Sanders into the future," he said.

Columbine seniors said they were excited before the ceremony.

"I want to do it, and I'm looking forward to it, but again, it's going to be kind of sad," said Alisha Basore.

Basore said part of the sadness would be the absence of her friend Rachel Scott, who was one of the first students cut down during the shooting spree.

"She was telling me she was going to bring air horns and cheer for me and I was waiting for that," she said.

A special insert to this year's Columbine yearbook remembers the students and teacher who were killed. The yearbook itself, put together before last month's shooting, contains pictures of Harris and Klebold.

"They were seniors, you know, just like everyone else," Basore said. "They could be put in the yearbook, but I have a lot of anger toward both of them."

Georgia school reopens after Thursday shooting rampage
May 22, 1999
Columbine parent, student shocked by Georgia school shootings
May 20, 1999
Teen suspect in Georgia school shooting may face adult charge
May 20, 1999
Bodies remain inside school as police check for bombs
April 21, 1999
Clinton unveils national guide on school violence
August 27, 1998

Jefferson County Public Schools
Gun-Free Schools Act Of 1994
School violence
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