KNOXVILLE — The Central High School community is mourning the loss of Emma Walker.
She would have graduated next Tuesday, if she were still alive.
"Graduation is always emotional," said Central High School Principal Michael Reynolds. "This year there is going to be that special sense that you’re going through a ceremony and something is missing."
Pictures of Walker and paw prints with her name on them lay scattered around the school and football field where she cheered.
A scholarship in her name helps others go to college and a NICU room at the East Tennessee Children's Hospital is named after her.
"Emma was one of those rays of sunshine. She had an infectious smile and she was also a good student," Reynolds said. "I don’t think that they’re going to walk across that stage without her being there. Her spirit will always be with us."
Central High School will leave a seat open for Walker and two others who died this year.
A jury found Emma Walker's killer guilty in a murder trial that ended Tuesday.
Riley Gaul will automatically spend 51 years in prison before he is eligible for parole. Prosecutors made the case that he shot and killed his ex-girlfriend through her bedroom wall as she slept in 2016.