Classmates honor Eleni Wilson at West Fargo GraduationWest Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - West Fargo seniors were blind-sided by the death of one of their own this year. It made for a bitter-sweet graduation.
By: Danielle Miller, WDAY
West Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - West Fargo seniors were blind-sided by the death of one of their own this year. It made for a bitter-sweet graduation. It was October when Eleni Wilson collapsed during theater practice, and died shortly after. Today her classmates were honored for their achievements, and Eleni was too.
Eleni Wilson, the 17 year old West Fargo High School senior who passed away from a brain aneurysm, would have graduated today. Although she is not physically here, her legacy lives on.
SPENCER VANGUILDER - Graduate: “She deserved it through all of her years of school, she went harder than most of any of us did.”
Eleni's long time boyfriend Spencer VanGuilder is not only accepting his diploma today, but Eleni's too. After talking it over with her family and school principal Dr. Cory Steiner, they all decided he should be the one accepting it in her honor.
SPENCER VANGUILDER: “It is bitter sweet, yea it is under terrible circumstances, but I think it is a very special thing, it is not anything to, obviously there are going to be some tears shed today, but it is not anything to you know be completley sad about because she did deserve a diploma and i'm glad she is getting it.”
Every student who spoke called attention to the empty seat, where Eleni would have sat, moments like this that kept students and parents wiping away tears.
SPENCER: “I wasn't anything that I had second guesses about, I wanted to from the start and I just knew she would want it, you know she is by my side everyday.
Principal Dr. Cory Steiner says there was never a doubt in his mind that Eleni should receive not only her deserved diploma, but a diploma with honors.
DR. CORY STEINER - West Fargo HS Principal: “It is one of those things you certainly wish never had to happen and you never had to plan for, but you know unfortunately things like this do happen and it is a good way to get closure for a lot of people today and also to celebrate a great milestone in a lot of kids lives.
After the last diploma is handed out, and students celebrate with the traditional cap toss, Vanguilder is happy knowing he graduated with Eleni by his side.
“Eleni is here with us, I can promise you that.”
After the ceremony VanGuilder took Eleni's diploma, cap, and gown to her house to put in her room.