CROSBY -- Among the 103 seniors graduating Thursday from Crosby-Ironton High School there was one empty chair adorned only with flowers and a graduation sash.
That chair was set for Amber Starr McKanna, the 17-year-old Crosby-Ironton senior who died in a traffic accident Jan. 31.
And when McKanna's name was called for a posthumous awarding of her diploma, the packed crowd in the Herman Woock Memorial Gymnasium rose to their feet and applauded.
Amid the standing ovation, C-I Superintendent Linda Lawrie presented the flowers, the sash and the diploma to McKanna's parents, who were sitting in the stands.
Crosby-Ironton School Board member Therese Norwood (left) hugged Deb McKanna after a diploma and flowers were given to the parents of Amber Starr McKanna by C-I Superintendent Linda Lawrie. Amber McKanna, a C-I senior who died in a traffic accident Jan. 31, had enough credits to graduate before her accident.
Several stanzas of a poem Kimberly Beaman, senior class salutatorian, read in her address to fellow graduating seniors were dedicated McKanna.
"We miss our friend Amber. She was full of spunk and energy," Beaman said. "So Amber, thank you for the memories."
Several hundred people attended Thursday's graduation. Along with Beaman, the other speakers were co-valedictorians Angela and Rebecca Gaviglio. The twin sisters spoke about the memorable experiences of their class from grade school through high school.
"Graduating today may be the end of one era but it is the beginning of an even better one," Angela Gaviglio said.
Beaman also was the only speaker to make mention of the two-month long teachers' strike, which ended April 6.
"The long vacation through the strike eventually grew old, we were happy to return to our school full of mold," Beaman said in rhyme, which received laughter from many of those in attendance.
When Lawrie announced the C-I class of 2005 to the C-I School Board, the graduating seniors tossed their caps into the air and doused each other with silly string.
MATT ERICKSON can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5857.
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