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Fallen Students Remembered at Enterprise Graduation Ceremony

ENTERPRISE, Ala. (AP) - Next to the ruins of Enterprise High School, wrecked by a deadly tornado three months ago, folding chairs have been placed on the football field for this afternoon's graduation ceremonies, including two empty seats in memory of two seniors who died in the storm.

Michael D. Tompkins and Jamie Ann Vidensek, both 17, were among eight students killed March 1st when a hallway collapsed as students huddled in a corridor as the twister struck.

The graduation program includes the awarding of diplomas for Tompkins and Vidensek - their parents were given the caps and gowns
their children would have worn.

Principal Rick Rainer said school officials have tried to keep the graduation ceremony much like the traditional ones.

Unlike the school's prom, where the food was prepared by celebrity chef Rachel Ray, no celebrity guests were invited to the event. The school's 21 valedictorians, all with 4.0 grade-point averages, will give the speeches and make other special presentations.

Enterprise High students finished the semester at a nearby community college and residents got together to fix the stadium for the graduation and the Wildcats' fall football season.

Graduation ceremonies begin at 5 pm.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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