Senior class at Central Texas school honors students who passed away before graduation

Posted at 7:30 PM, Apr 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-24 20:37:17-04

It's the end of an era for seniors at Groesbeck High School. With just one month left until graduation, students are reminiscing over the last four years.

The Class of 2018 is made up of 125 students who are eager to move on to the next stage of their lives, but they refuse to let the legacy of two dear friends leave with them.

"It makes me feel like he had a big impact on people," said Chance Kramer, senior at GHS. "If somebody had a problem, he'd help them with it. He'd talk with them. He was friends with everybody."

Two seats will be empty during GHS's graduation ceremony. One seat belonged to Hunter Neason, who died during a house fire when he was just 11 years old. The other seat belonged to Brooklyn Wilson, who passed away earlier this year due to a slew of medical problems. 

"They love both Hunter and Brooklyn and they wanted to do something super special for them since they would've been graduating with them here on June first," said Keri Allen, principal of GHS.

Through donations and fundraising, the students were able to create memorials that will keep their stories alive on campus. 

Over the last few weeks, a green bench was unveiled at the school's baseball field. The bench represents Neason, a young athlete who loved to play and watch baseball.

"This is his favorite sport to play," said Zayne Fulmer, Neason's stepbrother. "It means a lot that the senior class honors him and really knows him well. To me, it's something special that will be here forever." 

A tree was planted just a few feet away from the bench in memory of Wilson, who was the baseball team's biggest fan. She was constantly cheering on her brothers and the rest of the players during their games. 

"It reminds me of Brooklyn and how she was and whenever she was at her fullest," said Wyatt Price, senior at GHS. "It just screams Brooklyn."

"If she was there, it made everything better," said Claylin Carter, senior at GHS. "Everybody was happy and she just meant a lot to us." 

Students say this permanent spot on campus will match they lifelong impact Neason and Wilson had on their community.

"Don't ever take anything for granted. Just because you're here one day, doesn't mean you're going to be here the next," Kramer said. "We've had a lot of struggles and this bench kind of puts it all back together. Kind of fills that hole a little bit. 

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