WESTERLY, R.I. (WPRI) — The Class of 2016 at Westerly High School accepted their diplomas Friday night and a spot was left open for a classmate who was killed last year in a tragic car crash.
As graduation day approached, the students at Westerly High said they felt like something was missing – because there was nothing to remember their classmate, 16-year-old Felecia Bolduc, who was killed in September in a crash in Hopkinton.
When Principal Todd Grimes heard about the disappointment, he made sure to honor Bolduc during the school’s graduation ceremony.
“It became obvious in a real short time that they wanted an empty chair,” Grimes told Eyewitness News.
Last year, Felicia was in the front passenger seat of a car driving on I-95 when the car crashed and rolled over. Felecia was pronounced dead at the scene.
“I feel my daughter everywhere I am,” her mother, Rose McGuire, said after the crash. “These past few days it’s been unbelievable and I feel that my daughter has been with me.”
After her death, the Westerly High School football team wore purple to honor Felecia.
“There will never be enough words in the dictionary to show my appreciation or express my emotions,” McGuire said.
A seat was left open in honor of Felecia Friday night. On the chair sat a plush bear signed by all the students and a purple banner with her name.
After reading Felecia’s name during the ceremony, Principal Grimes walked off the stage and presented her diploma to her mother.
“It’s been a healing process throughout the year and it’s continuing tonight,” Grimes said. “Tonight is a celebratory event but there will be that remembrance of Felecia tonight.”
Every graduate also wore a customized pin on their gown in honor of Felecia.