Regalia displayed in honor of fellow Hazel Green graduate - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Regalia displayed in honor of fellow Hazel Green graduate

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JR Pinder was killed in a 2012 wreck. JR Pinder was killed in a 2012 wreck.
Students displayed his graduation regalia and set aside a chair in his honor Tuesday. Students displayed his graduation regalia and set aside a chair in his honor Tuesday.
Hazel Green, AL (WAFF) -

The senior class at a Madison County school paid special tribute at their Tuesday graduation to a classmate killed in a 2012 wreck.

A cap and gown was displayed beside an empty chair at the Hazel Green High School graduation ceremony, as originally envisioned by fellow classmates of JR Pinder. He was killed in a car crash two years ago.

There was brief debate about whether or not this method of tribute would be allowed by school officials. Tuesday, it was announced that not only would the cap-and-gown tribute indeed take place, but JR's name would also be called out during the graduates' procession. 

A moment of silence in Pinder's honor was also held. JR's family said they could not have been more appreciative for all the effort the seniors have gone through on their behalf.

"This senior class has been phenomenal," said Pinder's uncle, Lon Ostrzycki. "As a family, this day is very difficult, but it's more bearable because of how these kids have rallied around and kept his memory alive."

Family members said it was a tough day, but they wanted to be at the graduation to support JR's classmates, just as they supported the family when they lost their son.

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