Belen High School’s Class of 2002 will honor the memory of a deceased classmate during graduation ceremonies on Friday.
A moment of silence will be observed in memory of James Riggall, who died in a loaded-rifle incident at his home on March 28.
His fellow Navy JROTC cadets will also wear wings in his honor.
“During the ceremony, the school administrators will present James’ parents with an honorary diploma,” Superintendent Don Duran said.
“I am thankful the school board is honoring James,” said Riggall’s father, David. “I feel that, if a student dies during their senior year, they should be honored with an honorary diploma.
“I would also like to have a vacant chair in his honor. He was one of the kids, and he is not there now. I think a vacant chair should also be at the graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2003 and 2004 to honor the students who died in the car accidents.”
James has also been honored by his classmates through letters expressing how he affected their lives.
“It has been nice to see how James’ classmates feel about him,” the grieving father said.