As hundreds of North Lamar students prepare to walk across the stage at graduation this week, one distraught family took to social media in a bid to have a chair place for a student who passed away last year.
“I was told ‘no’ multiple times by North Lamar principal Mark Keith when I asked if a chair would be placed at graduation to honor Kaylee. After that, I reached out to the superintendent but got no response,” said Ashley Hamilton, the aunt of Kaylee Boswell.
Kaylee Nicole Starling-Boswell, who would have been graduating this year, was killed in an ATV accident on June 7, 2021.
“She felt a bump and the next thing, Kaylee was flying off,” said Boswell’s grandmother Judy Hoover to KXII. “She landed flat on her head and rolled a couple of times.”
Boswell was taken to Paris Regional Medical Center before she was pronounced braindead the following Monday.
Losing her mother when she was five years old, Boswell wanted to follow in her mom’s selflessness and donate her organs as she had. Boswell committed to donating her heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas, and small intestine for research.
Now, a year later, the family hoped a chair would be placed at graduation in honor of Boswell, however, the response they got left them speechless, and they turned to social media in a bid to have the decision reversed.
“Never in my 31-years of life would I have imagined I’d be arguing over a chair!!! A freaking graduation chair at that,” said Hamilton on Facebook. “But you can bet my sweet girl I’ll fight to keep your memory alive, and for what you deserve! A hero deserves nothing less, and if they can’t see that, they are blind.”
The post quickly circulated on social media with many asking why North Lamar wouldn’t place a chair at graduation for Boswell.
“Wow, how disheartening. When I graduated, we had a chair for the ones we’d lost,” said one person.
Another said, “North Lamar High School NEEDS TO DO BETTER.”
However, in a surprising turn of events, Hamilton said received word late Wednesday night that Boswell would have a chair.
“From my understanding, Bo Exum pushed hard for this, so a big thanks to him and, of course, all of you who shared and advocated for our girl,” said Hamilton.
“Nobody ever said why there wouldn’t be a chair for Kaylee but it was all taken care of, and that’s what we wanted to have done,” said board member Bo Exum. “Everybody worked together and we got it taken care of.”
Board member Lauren Woodard said, “Once the proper communications and wishes were made clear by the ones who are able to make such decisions, the requests were honored.”
Early Thursday morning, Hamilton received an email from Keith confirming there will be a chair placed during graduation, honoring Kaylee.
While the family is happy Boswell will be honored at graduation, they are disappointed they had to fight so hard for it.
“This shouldn’t have been a question period,” said Hamilton. “I’m not sure where NL got so off track. I know numerous kids who have passed and this was done for them, no question. If the family wants it, it should be done. It’s a shame it took me posting on social media and the community rallying behind me to get it done.”
myparistexas.com reached out to North Lamar High School principal Mark Keith and superintendent Kelly Stewart and received no response before publication.