Twenty-nine Escambia Academy students received their high school diplomas Thursday, during the graduation ceremony held at Bachelor Field.
Although the night was a time of celebration, it was also a time of solemn remembrance. EA senior James Fuqua was killed in a car crash Saturday, Feb. 21, and family members received his diploma posthumously.
During the ceremony, Fuqua’s seat was kept unoccupied, with his letterman’s jacket draped over the back.
The commencement speaker was Todd White, whose family in Pollard offered Fuqua a place to stay during the week to help with expenses. Fuqua and White’s son, Cade, become very good friends.
“This is a very special place,” White said Thursday evening, thanking everyone for their show of support and understanding after Fuqua’s death. “It’s such an honor to be a part of this EA family.”
White said that Fuqua’s death was a difficult time, but it was an example of the adversity that we all face in life.
“Our Lord and savior Jesus Christ gives us what we need to overcome adversity,” he said. “It will happen to everyone here, at some point in your lives. Mourn your loss, but when you finish crying, pick yourself up and continue to move forward.”
The senior class co-salutatorians were Anna Catherine Sasser and Nate Smith, and the valedictorian was Claire Dawe.
In her speech to the class, Dawe also noted that they would face obstacles in their later years.
“We just have to trust in God and know that anything he puts in front of us is a lesson for us,” she said. “He will never give us more than we can handle.”
Megan Fournier provided the invocation, and Taylor Ware read the welcome. Reagan Bell introduced White as the speaker, and Lindsey Weatherford gave the benediction.
The members of the EA Class of 2015 were: Reagan Makenzie Bell, Scott Austin Brantley, Gordon Lee Brooks, Claire Brooklyn Dawe, Megan Nicole Fournier, Yocelin Amalia Franco, James Coleman Fuqua, Jessica Danae Glick, Baylie Elizabeth Godwin, Brett Nathaniel Gorum, Tadd Eli Huskey, Krista Jo Jeter, Garrett Jackson Kirk, William Dale Lambert, Natalie Nicole Lassiter, Auden Shane Lassitter, Jacob McCall Leachman, Cecily Blayre McCullough, Courtney Alexis McGhee, Colton Trey McGhee, Taylor Lee McGhee, William Garrett Nesmith, Maleek Keenan Salter, Anna Catherine Sasser, John Patrick Sawyer, William Nathaniel Smith, James Gregory Vaughn, Taylor Elizabeth Ware and Lindsey Kate Weatherford.