STATESBORO, GA (WTOC) - This weekend means graduation for thousands of Georgia Southern University students, and a somber memorial for five young women lost.
From Savannah to Statesboro, the five nursing students killed in a 2015 crash touched so many lives. The university honored their legacy with degrees in their memory.
Families of the five girls walked to the stage to receive their posthumous degrees to show they may be gone, but never forgotten.
“It really runs the gamut of all your emotions,” said Kathy and Craig Clark. “You’re exited to see Emily, and them, recognized.”
The bittersweet moment also brought back a touch of the pain.
“Especially when the nursing students came in. That was tough, because our daughter should have been there too,” said Linda and Ricky Baggett.
They were on their way to hospitals in Savannah to observe nurses as part of their education for their future careers.
“The new president really understood the pain of the families and concerns of the families, and wanted us to have some closure as quickly as possible,” Jimmy DeLoach said.
The families and the entire university mourned the deaths after the horrific crash on I-16. President Kyle Marrero says this was a natural step.
“An incredible moment and occasion, and it brings back emotions for many, but it’s important for us to be a part of this and remembering how important it is to hold each other dear each and every day,” President Marrero said.
And to hold on to the memory of five Eagles forever.
As part of the young ladies’ legacy, Georgia adopted a hands-free law for cell phones while driving. The families were part of that, and say that and this helps them keep their memories alive.