Thursday night is a big night for high school graduates in New Haven, but it’s also bittersweet.
Hillhouse High School is paying special tribute to Jacob Craggett, a member of the class of 2017, who was shot and killed three years ago.
Lisa Craggett admitted Thursday evening will be tough at the graduation ceremony, but said she would never miss it. Her son's classmates insisted he be a big part of it too.
"I have five sons, one's in heaven, but all my boys graduated from James Hillhouse High School and Jacob would have too,” Lisa Craggett said. "It’s very emotional for my family and myself because this is all Jacob wanted. Jacob wanted to graduate high school, go to college and play football."
At graduation, Lisa will be presented with Jacob’s diploma.
In August of 2014, the 15-year-old was in a car on his way home, when he was shot and killed.
His killer, Lamont Edwards was sentenced to 85 years in March.
"I'm not going to give the person that killed my son, a winning hand, I'm not going to succumb to the pain you caused me. I'm going to remember all the good times,” Lisa Craggett said.
It’s what Jacob’s classmates wanted as well.
"What he meant to them and the class, and they wanted to do something for him for graduation,” said Hillhouse Principal Glen Worthy.
He said that includes a stunning portrait of Jacob in a cap and gown, painted by student, which will be prominently displayed at graduation.
The class will also leave an empty chair as a tribute to Jacob, before presenting Lisa with a gift and her son's diploma.
"I always feel his presence, so I know he's going to be there, I know he's going to be there,” Craggett said.
While Jacob gets honored, Lisa says his memory continues to live on. They've already selected their second recipient for a scholarship named after Jacob. That person is a member of the class of 2017 that will get $1,000 to put towards college.
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