WARRENSVILLE HEIGHTS, OH (WOIO) - Graduation at East Tech High School in Cleveland Thursday night was full of celebration, but also reflected on tough times students recently faced.
One of their classmates died over the weekend, after having a severe asthma attack. But they still remembered the teen on this special day.
Graduation for the Class of 2016 was held at Word Church on South Miles Road in Warrensville Heights.
Seventeen-year-old Henry Griffin died of a severe asthma attack just days before this day of celebration.
"We miss him, but we'll meet again," said the class president in his speech.
Griffin was featured twice on Romona's Kids for his educational accomplishments.
He and his team won the "First Robotics" World Championship.
Griffin was a part of a student group called "The Divine 5." They were involved in a program sponsored by the National Society for Black Engineers.
After all of the students walked to the stage to get their diplomas, a moment of recognition was held for the loss of their fellow Scarab, their school mascot.
Then Henry's mom Lillian Farris tearfully accepted his diploma and the room erupted in clapping.
"He did everything he said he was going to do. I'm gonna finish school, I'm gonna graduate, I'm gonna go to college," Farris said.
Henry Griffin Jr. says his son got acceptance letters from a few colleges. He wanted to be an engineer.
"My son was a blessing to the world. He was a role model, a student, a scholar and an athlete," he said.
Griffin leaves behind eight brothers and sisters.
"All of them looked up to him. All of them love him, still love him. They adore him, want to be just like him," his dad said.
His mom says he had a motto he lived by.
"Do exactly what you said you're gonna do, make sure you achieve it," Farris said.
Henry did that and so much more. Cleveland 19 News asked his mom what they would do with his diploma.
"I'm gonna frame it, keep it and show his siblings so they can be inspired like they always have been," she said.
Another student, Keith Griffen, was also honored for overcoming adversity during the graduation ceremony.
Griffen was shot several times in March, but doctors at MetroHealth were able to save his life.
His injuries left him paralyzed from the waist down, but he is fighting his way back to good health.
Keith Griffen received his high school diploma Thursday night.
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