Falmouth High School Seniors Hope to Honor Deceased Classmates - NECN


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Falmouth High School Seniors Hope to Honor Deceased Classmates



    Falmouth Seniors Request to Honor Deceased Classmates

    The classmates of two Falmouth, Massachusetts, teenagers killed in a car crash last year are hoping to honor them one last time but the school is pushing back.

    (Published Wednesday, April 26, 2017)

    The classmates of two Falmouth, Massachusetts, teenagers killed in a car crash last year are hoping to honor them one last time, but their school is pushing back.

    Elmer "Guv" Fuller Field is where Owen Higgins and James Lavin played football for Falmouth High School.

    Higgins and Lavin, star athletes, died after being involved in a car crash on Dec. 22, 2016.

    Friends of Higgins and Lavin want to move the school's graduation ceremony to to the field, where it's been held in the past.

    Students said a Fuller Field graduation would make a fitting tribute, but school officials told them no.

    "It was one of our friend's last wish," said Brandon Woodward, while describing a conversation he had with Higgins. "I've known Owen my whole life. This is the center of everything."

    Just days before the accident, the lifelong friends spoke about how Higgins wished to graduate on the field.

    "We're trying to fulfill that wish," said Woodward.

    Seniors leading the push said school administration brought forth multiple issues involved with moving graduation.

    Some of those issues included cost, handicap accessibility and secondary trauma.

    "Our administrators have been told that this would be an emotionally traumatizing place for us, which we think is inaccurate," said Olivia McKnight.

    Students said school officials consulted with Riverside Trauma Center in Needham and were told moving graduation to the field would bring painful memories.

    At a school committee meeting held Tuesday night students addressed that issue.

    "We discussed the secondary trauma aspect that they've talk to us about," said McKnight. "We showed them two pictures, essentially. The first was a vigil at Falmouth High School, the second was a typical game here (at Fuller Field)."

    One picture shows pain, one shows happiness.

    "It would just mean a lot," said Nick Couhig, who was friends with Higgins and Lavin since fourth and fifth grade.

    "It would truly be unbelievable just to come out here one last time," said friend Zach Murphy.

    Students said administrators told them graduation on the field would cost nearly $50,000 but students said that's not accurate.

    Students did their own research to determine the cost, which includes Falmouth businesses offering to donate their services.

    They came up with an estimate of nearly $26,000, including the staffing of police officers, handicap accessible accommodations and more.

    Students say they even added $7,000 to the estimate, which is the cost of holding graduation at the school, just for kicks.

    The senior class has raised $30,000 to cover costs and said of the near 230 seniors graduating, more than half support graduation at Fuller Field.

    "It would definitely be good for the class," said Couhig.

    "It means a ton to us," said Woodward.

    NBC Boston tried speaking with the superintendent of schools and the high school's principal, but they declined to comment.

    A detailed look at the students' proposal can be found here.

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