The folding chairs that are set up on a football field at an Alabama high school for this evening's graduation ceremonies include two seats that will remain empty.
They're set aside in memory of two seniors who died when the high school in Enterprise was wrecked by a tornado. The two 17-year-olds — Michael Tompkins and Jamie Ann Vidensek — were among eight students who died on March 1st when a hallway collapsed as students huddled there.
The same storm system killed an elderly woman in Enterprise, another man in Alabama, and nine people in Georgia.
The two seniors are being awarded their diplomas posthumously. Their parents are being given the caps and gowns they would have worn.
A fellow senior says, "They definitely should be part of it. They are part of our class."
In preparation for the ceremony, residents of the area cleared the football field of debris, including the remains of the stadium's upper deck, roofing shingles, tree limbs and school supplies.