School to allow woman to accept late sister's diploma and walk at graduation ceremony

- Summer Lynn is fighting for the chance to accept the honorary high school diploma for her sister, who died last year.

"I want to walk," Summer Lynn said. "I just walk to walk for her."

Lynn's younger sister, Nikki Collins, died just days before Christmas last year of complications from the flu. Nikki had dreams of one day owning her own hair salon and doing make-up professionally.

"I want to be able to walk for the honor of my sister," Summer explained.

At first, the Marion County School District said no.

"It's not gonna hurt anybody," Roxanne Collins, Nikki's mother, explained. "Everybody in that school knows that Nikki has passed."

The reasons behind the district's decision were two-fold, according to Lynn:  no one had done it before and Nikki hadn't finished her course credits to be able to graduate.

"It's not my sister's fault she passed away. It's not my sister's fault she got sick," Lynn explained,  "and it's not my sister's fault she didn't get to complete it. I feel like it's only right."

After FOX 35's inquiry into the issue, the school district said it will allow Summer to accept the diploma for her sister.

District spokesperson Kevin Christian said they had discovered a precedent, from seven years ago, where a family member walked in honor of a student who died.

"We will abide by that precedent and allow Summer to honor her sister by walking in that graduation line," Christian said.

Lynn said she got a personal call from the superintendent of Marion County Public Schools on Friday afternoon,.

"I am ecstatically appreciative of everything that they've offered, but this, this is completely fulfilling my sister's last wish of wanting to walk across that stage," Lynn said, after she got the news.

Christian told FOX35 the school district is offering to help Nikki's family set up a scholarship in Nikki's name, for other students.
 

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