RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — In a reversal, Enloe High School will now honor a would-be graduate who died at the start of her senior year after she stepped into an electrified pool while working as a lifeguard.
Rachel Rosoff would have graduated in June. She was 17 when she dove into a swimming pool in Raleigh in September 2016, not knowing the water was electrified. She drowned as a result.
Friends and family of Rachel Rossoff had publicly pleaded with Wake County Schools and Enloe officials to honor her at graduation. The school system had been working with the Rosoff family to find a suitable way to honor the teen. Enloe officials had said they had no plans to honor her at graduation.
A Change.org petition was started two weeks ago in an effort to convince officials there was enough support to honor Rachel Rosoff at what would have been her graduation. Officials said that they were concerned honoring her would take away from the other students’ graduation day and that it would cast a somber mood over what should be a joyous event.
The petition was signed by more than 13,000 people.
Rachel Rosoff’s mother, Michelle, contacted CBS North Carolina Monday morning to say the school will now honor her daughter at graduation.
According to Michelle Rosoff, the school will honor Rachel Rosoff in four ways:
1. A vase will be placed on the stage in a “noticeable position” and will include a rose and ribbon.
2. The school will include a moment of silence as a part of the graduation ceremony, with reference to Rachel by name and an explanation that the vase is meant to honor her.
3. The school will include a statement in the graduation program that explains that the vase is meant to honor Rachel.
4. The school will tell the valedictorian that it’s his choice whether to make reference to Rachel or not during his speech.
Michelle Rosoff sent CBS North Carolina’s Beau Minnick a text message regarding the school’s decision.
“The school has decided to honor Rachel at [graduation]. We are very grateful for their decision and thank Wake County for working with us and recognizing the importance of having our daughter recognized at what would be her graduation.”
Michelle Rosoff also thanked CBS North Carolina for covering the family’s effort to have Rachel recognized at graduation.
Enloe students are set to graduate June 14 at 8 p.m. at the Raleigh Convention Center in downtown Raleigh.
Wake Schools issued a statement Monday that read:
We appreciate the willingness of Rachel Rosoff’s family to resolve the question of Rachel’s recognition during a painful and difficult time for all who knew her. We would also like to thank Enloe Principal Will Chavis for his quiet and persistent efforts to help us reach an agreement. We are not providing additional comment out of respect for the Rosoff family and the healing process among Rachel’s classmates.