A mother who never graduated from university walked across a stage dressed in a cap and gown and accepted her son’s diploma a week after he was killed in a car crash on the night of his prom.
Aaron Dunigan, 18, died when the car he was a passenger in crashed into another car at the weekend. His mother Katherine Jackson honoured her son by sitting among his classmates at Thornton Fractional North High School in Illinois and collecting his high school diploma in his place.
“[My son] knows his mom never walked the stage,” she told NBC. “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.”
The car crash also killed the driver of the other vehicle, a 56-year-old man named Juan Rivera. Mr Dunigan’s classmate was badly injured in the crash but attended the ceremony in a wheelchair. He was seen hugging and crying with his friend's mother in an emotional exchange after the ceremony.
"My son has left a piece of him inside all of them," said Ms Jackson. "Every time I hug one of them, I get a little piece of my baby back."