At Central High Schools commencement ceremony Saturday, the loudest applause perhaps was for a graduate who wasnt there.
After handing out the diplomas, the school then gave an honorary degree for Nashandra Harriet Finney, who was killed in a car accident Jan. 10, 2013.
Finney was a junior when she was killed and was supposed to have been among the graduates Saturday.
Instead, her parents, Harold and Beverlyn Finney, walked to the stage and accepted the honorary diploma, as well as a shadow box with a cap and gown. They said they were moved by the schools decision to recognize their daughter.
Its helps bring closure because we know she would have been here, Beverlyn Finney said. It touches our heart that they are still thinking of her.
Harold Finney walked with a cane as he crossed the stage, a result of injuries he suffered in the accident.
He is still recovering and has undergone several surgeries.
It means everything, he said of the schools gesture. It would have been better if she had been here and I could have seen her walk.
He was driving when their vehicle collided with an SUV on Forsyth Road near Tucker Road. Investigators decided about a year later there was not enough evidence to charge either driver.
The Finneys said their daughter loved children and planned to go into early childhood education.
She was beautiful, Harold Finney said. She was an angel. She was willing to help everybody.
Although graduation was still more than a year away when she was killed, Harriet Finney was already excited about it.
Thats all she talked about, her mother said.
To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.