Columbine seniors graduate under the shadow of shooting
May 22, 1999
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.
"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."
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