Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Sunday, May 23, 1999 Published at 04:15 GMT 05:15 UK

World: Americas

Massacre shadow over graduation

Injured student Lisa Kreutz receives her diploma

Students at Columbine High School in Colorado - where two teenagers shot dead 12 pupils and a teacher - have gone ahead with their graduation ceremony.

And as prayers were said for those injured in another school shooting in Georgia last week, President Bill Clinton urged the House of Representatives to vote quickly on new gun restrictions approved by the Senate last week.

Rob Watson reports: "Despite the shooting the graduation ceremony went ahead as planned"
After crying at funerals and memorials since the shooting, the 437 Columbine seniors did their best to make graduation a happy memory.

They smiled as they marched down the aisle to their seats watched by family and friends.

[ image: One student seeks comfort]
One student seeks comfort
But there was also overwhelming sadness at the killings carried out by Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17. The pair turned their guns on themselves after carrying out the massacre.

Two of the those killed would have graduated at the ceremony. Harris and Klebold were also set to graduate, but their names were not mentioned.

"Two of the graduating seniors of the Class of 1999 and one of our faculty members are no longer with us. Their lives were cut down too short," Principal Frank DeAngelis said, referring to the two seniors and teacher and coach Dave Sanders.

Silent tribute

"Their lives were full of courage and hope and enthusiasm and never forget that they loved us as much as we loved them," he said.

"Each of us will carry the spirit of Isaiah Shoels, Lauren Townsend and Dave Sanders into the future."

People then bowed their head in a moment of silence to remember the victims.

Ms Townsend, 18, had planned to attend Colorado State University and study wildlife biology.

Her sister and two brothers accepted her diploma and her parents were handed her cap and gown and valedictorian award.

Wounded victims

Graduate Sara Martin, remembered her friend Cassie Bernall.

"I wish that I had had more time and more opportunities to tell her what she meant to me," she said. "I must recognise what I have learned - to love deeply and to appreciate every word and every gesture of every person I love or will love."

The audience cheered when three seniors who had been wounded in the massacre, Jeanna Park, Lisa Kreutz and Valeen Schnurr, received their diplomas.

And in keeping with tradition, they threw their caps in the air at the end of the two-hour ceremony.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia

Relevant Stories

22 May 99 | Americas
Clinton urges speedy gun control

15 May 99 | Americas
US gun law in firing line

01 May 99 | Americas
Gun lobby meets near massacre school

22 Apr 99 | Americas
Taking Liberties: America and the gun

23 May 99 | Americas
The arming of US schools

Internet Links

The Center to prevent handgun violence

National Rifle Association

The US Constitution

National Center for Educational Statistics: Violence and Discipline Problems in US Public Schools

Springfield Pages

Springfield Information

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

From Business
Microsoft trial mediator appointed

Safety chief deplores crash speculation

From Entertainment
Taxman scoops a million

Violence greets Clinton visit

Bush outlines foreign policy

Boy held after US school shooting

Memorial for bonfire dead

Senate passes US budget

New constitution for Venezuela

North Korea expels US 'spy'

Hurricane Lenny abates

UN welcomes US paying dues

Chavez praises 'advanced' constitution

In pictures: Castro strikes out Chavez

WTO: arbitration in EU-Ecuador banana dispute

Colombian army chief says rebels defeated

Colombian president lambasts rebels