GRANDVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — Grandville High School has lost three of its students in less than three months. Two of those students were seniors and were remembered during a graduation ceremony Thursday night.
Senior Ryan Fischer died in March from a heart issue, around the time freshman Alyssa Arends died from complications of a rare bone cancer.
Earlier in May, another senior, Roman Aguilar-Emmons, was killed in a crash in Montcalm County.
The high school’s commencement ceremony honored Fischer and Aguilar-Emmons. Their siblings — also students — accepted their diplomas.
“That was something that was very important to both their families because they have achieved a lot and they’ve earned it,” Grandville High School Principal Chris Vanderslice said. “They’re great students at Grandville High School and we want to make sure we recognize their achievements.”
Vanderslice said losing classmates has changed a lot of the students.
“They just put their arms around each other, knowing that every day should be cherished and valued,” Vanderslice said. “For our students to have to mature at that level as high school students is impressive.”
It was also an emotional night for the principal.
Vanderslice has been undergoing treatments for a form of leukemia for months. He said his goal all along was to be working and attending graduation night.
The graduation ceremony was held at Resurrection Life Church in Grandville.