Teen killed just days before graduation; Mother takes his place on stage

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Mother Graduates in Place of Son Killed Days Before Ceremony

CALUMET CITY, Ill. — For some Chicagoland high school students, today was graduation day. At one Calumet City school, it was also a time of mourning for a graduating senior who lost his life over the weekend.

Aaron Dunigan, 18, was remembered in a very special way at his Calumet City school's graduation ceremony – his mother took her son's place on the stage.

Aaron was killed Saturday. He was a front-seat passenger in a car involved in a head-on collision.

"While our hearts are heavy and while we are experiencing death and anguish, it's still a time to celebrate because when tomorrow comes, you have to live," district superintendent Creg Williams said.

In front of a packed auditorium, Aaron's mother, in cap and gown, was called up in his place for a special honor at a ceremony that became about remembering the young scholar, friend and high school quarterback.

"As we celebrate the hope and possibility that we have here today in front of us, we also have to celebrate the life and experience of Aaron Dunigan," said Thornton Fractional North High School Principal Dwayne Evans.

Aaron's football coach reminded the crowd of a big win for the young quarterback had last fall when he carried the ball for game-winning touchdown in the closing minutes of the last game he ever played.

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