Graduates of Episcopal School of Jacksonville, Florida, paid homage Saturday to Dale Regan, head of the school who was murdered in her office in March.
"She was included in our valedictorian's speech and the opening prayer and her name is on all our diplomas. They're handed out in memory of her," said Kaley Webb, a graduate, in an interview with WJXT TV in Jacksonville.
Regan began her career at the school in 1978. Many students at yesterday's graduation had known her since they were in elementary school.
"We're sad but we're getting on and we know that she's here so it's not bittersweet because she's not gone," said Jacqueline Sutton, a graduate, told News 4.
The Very Rev. Kate Moorehead, dean of St. John's Cathedral in Jacksonville and mother of a middle-school student at Episcopal, said students, faculty and staff have become visibly more aware of God's presence since Regan's death. "The community has realized why they're a Christian School," she said."God is such an important part of it. The tone of chapel time has completely changed."
Moorehead said at graduation, students talked about how they missed Dale, "but they knew she was smiling on them and present with them."
Regan was fatally shot early on the afternoon of March 6 by Shane Schumerth, a Spanish teacher who had been fired earlier in the day. Schumerth then killed himself.