A mom graduated in her son’s place four days after he was killed in a car crash on prom night. Wearing her late son’s cap and gown, Katherine Jackson marched with graduating students at Thornton Fractional North High School in Chicago last Wednesday, according to NBC.
Jackson’s 18-year-old son, Aaron Dunigan, was one of two people killed in a south suburban Chicago car crash while on his way home from prom over the weekend. Dunigan died when his friend’s car crossed the median and crashed into another car. The driver of that other car, 56-year-old Metra employee Juan Rivera, was on his way to work when he was also killed.
David Peden, who was driving the vehicle Dunigan and a classmate were riding in, was later charged with DUI, causing death and reckless homicide with a motor vehicle when driving home from the prom.
All three of the teens were classmates and scheduled to graduate last Wednesday. Mike Crowter was badly injured in the crash. He suffered a broken jaw and other injuries, but he was able to attend the graduation in a wheel chair with a bandage across his head. He wiped away tears as he hugged Jackson at the ceremony.
Jackson wore her late son’s cap and gown and walked across the stage in his place. KFOR described the mother’s march as an emotional walk when she took her late son’s place at his high school graduation and received his diploma.
“[My son] knows his mom never walked the stage. I’m going to be his legs and he’s going to be my wings and we’re going to go up there and get our diploma.”
Jackson wanted to honor her son’s memory by accepting his diploma on his behalf. She received a standing ovation when she walked across the stage and received her son’s diploma.
Dunigan, who was the prom king and a quarterback, was preparing to play football for Southern Illinois University in the fall. He was honored and mourned at the ceremony by family, friends, and classmates. The school’s superintendent, Creg Williams, gave recognition to Dunigan during the graduation.
“It is unfortunate that during this prom and graduation season, that we mourn the loss of this talented young man. This has to be a moment of celebration and learning. Let their incident not be in vain. Be safe.”
Do you think Katherine Jackson’s gesture was a good way to honor her son?
[Image via NBC]