As Fulton high school seniors cross the stage at graduation in Thompson-Boling Arena, the school honors one of their own.
A cap, gown and white rose was set in the crowd for Zaevion Dobson, a Fulton football player who selflessly shielded friends from gunfire, dying in the process, back in December of 2015.
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A moment of silence from Fulton Principal Rob Speas was followed with a deep sigh. He had a difficult time holding in the emotion from the day. A crowd of students looked back at him, their eyes have seen more than most.
"I think about the pain our kids have had to work through, the suffering and just the amount of perseverance they've shown to not let that derail them, but make them stronger," said Speas.
Students are called and families cheer, until it's time for Zaevion to get his diploma. His mother, Zenobia, walked across the stage to receive the diploma. A cheer erupted from those in attendance, but Zenobia's emotions were louder.
"Just tears of joy on the inside," said Dobson.
Students turned tassels and tossed their caps, and once the ceremony was over, Dobson made her way to the seat her son should have filled, collecting the memorial, mind racing with memories of Zae.
"Everything, everything about Zaevion," Zenobia said. "His life, his legacy, his everything. I just thought from the time he was born til now."
Grateful for the moment, Dobson thanked all of the Fulton family. Grateful for the legacy Zae leaves behind.
"With all my heart and soul, I will always love you Zaevion."