By Melissa Tori
At on Thursday, June 7 at Compuware Arena, graduates of Hartland High School honored their classmate, , who passed away during their junior year of high school. Kendal died in January of 2011 from complications of leukemia.
Many of those classmates participated in while she was sick and have participated in cancer related fundraiser's since her passing. Her friends have not forgotten her and have included her in all their special moments---at Homecoming and Prom they took corsages, flowers, pictures and other gifts to the cemetery. During a senior trip that several of her closest friends went on, they wanted to send a clear message that she was there with them by singing their "Kendal" song, Aerosmiths Don't Want to Miss a Thing, during a karaoke performance---they had the audience in tears.
At the graduation ceremony:
1) In Kendal's honor, students entered the arena and each placed a rose in large vases as they walked in. The vases sat front and center on the stage.
2) Kendal's closest friends decorated their caps with her initials, jewels and orange ribbons, the ribbon color for leukemia.
3) The 450 roses were taken to the cemetery last night along with a Hartland 2012 tassel after commencement and placed at her grave and sent up luminaries to let her know she will be with them at their Senior all night party.
Personal note from Beth Tori (Melissa's Mom):
It was a bitter sweet night for my daughter and Kendal's closest friends, happy to be graduating and moving on to the next chapter in their lives, but heavy-hearted that one of them was not there to share in the moment they had always talked about and dreamed of together.
Kendal has taught her friends the true meaning of friendship and has blessed them with a valuable life lesson; how to handle tragedy with such love, strength, grace and class and no matter how hard things get to never give up and to persevere. Kendal has taught them, but THEY in turn, as children, have taught us.
We, the parents of the Hartland High School class of 2012 are so very, very proud of our children.