LOUISVILLE, Ky. — With summer break comes the closing of a chapter; for some, the start of a new one.
"Well, I think our kids are super excited, just a lot of excitement happening right now," Eastern High School Principal Heather Orman said.
You could hear it from a mile away: the electrifying roars of supportive families and distinguished graduates repping Eastern High School for one last time, during a graduation ceremony Thursday.
But even louder, was what you couldn't hear, and who you couldn't see.
"If [Tyree] was here, this is something he would've done," Tyree Smith's mother, Sherita Smith, said. "It's about the students. It's about them."
June 1, 2023, would have been a marquee moment in the young life of Tyree Smith if he had made it past the age of 16.
His dreams came to a screeching halt after a drive-by shooting at his bus stop in 2021. Two Jefferson County Public School students were charged in connection with the incident.
That thought was not lost on anyone, as Tyree's family celebrated the would-be graduate in front of hundreds who honored his life.
"All of our students and staff are wearing a blue ribbon because he was part of our eagle family," Orman said.
Sherita said she was happy to be there and is "happy my son is being honored this way."
To top it off, Smith's family was handed an honorary diploma, for a spirit that will forever be a part of the Class of 2023.
"Tyree was such a happy, loving person that I'm glad that he got his diploma because if he was here, that is something he'd be so lively in, happy, and loving about," Sherita said.