An empty chair sat among the rows of graduates at Christian County High School’s graduation Friday.
The chair was draped with the cap and gown 17-year-old Jacory Burse bought one week before his young life was cut short.
“Extremely difficult, probably the hardest thing I’ve had to do,” said principal Chris Bentzel.
Family members walked across the stage in Burse’s place.
Burse graduated in December and was supposed to walk with his friends Friday, with hopes of going into the military or going to college, according to Bentzel.
“He was just a good kid,” the principal said.
“Very proud of his accomplishments and the fact that he did get his cap and gown and he was planning to walk.”
On May 12, Burse along with 16-year-old Darius Majors died in a car crash on Fort Campbell Boulevard near South Walnut Street.
Fifteen-year-old Kaylee Lane was also in the car and died days later.
“When Kaylee passed, she was in the hospital for a week,” Bentzel said. “That next day, it got kind of rough because it kept bringing back the same accident, the same situation.”
Bentzel says the loss has been tough on students and staff.
“You just don’t know what to expect,” he said.
“You’re dealing with human lives every day and when you deal with human lives you’re dealing with the unknown, the unexpected, especially teenagers and so it always crosses your mind, but when it happens, it’s real.”