Garland grads honor the victims of Columbine



Posted on June 3, 2012 at 11:24 PM

Updated Monday, Jun 4 at 12:46 PM

GARLAND — Thirteen graduates from Naaman Forest High School in Garland stood out from the rest when they crossed the stage at graduation Friday night.

Around their black gowns were cords of red and gold. It's a symbol of service, and an honor for students who are carrying on the legacy of Rachel Scott.

It was 1999 in Littleton, Colorado, when two student gunmen opened fire, taking the lives of 12 students and one teacher.

Now it's the legacy of one victim that is changing lives.

Rachel Scott will never walk across the stage at graduation, but Nyanya Sowe did, and she wore Rachel's image around her neck.

"My name is Nyanya Sowe, and I'm proudly walking Rachel Joy Scott across the stage," she said.

Sowe is one of 13 students at Naaman Forest High School who earned the honor. These Garland students are all a part of Rachel's Challenge.

Many have served more than 20 hours of community service. They all have grade point averages over 3.16.

"I feel like she would be really proud of us," Sowe said.

Thirteen students in all — representing the 13 victims from that tragic day in 1999.

Each tag has a name, a description, and a photograph.

"My name is Anna Economu, and I'm walking for Daniel Mauser."

"My name is Jessica Santibañez, and I am walking Cassie Rene Burnall."

"My name is Angela Onuegbulen, and I'm walking for Coach Dave Sanders."

Each graduate has the opportunity to do something these kids didn't get to do — live to see a major milestone.

Tens of thousands of North Texas students are now carrying on in Rachel Scott's footsteps.