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Milford students petitioning to change graduation date in honor of classmate’s memory

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MILFORD -- Seniors at Jonathan Law High School in Milford are petitioning the district to change the date of graduation. Senior Katie Sabo created a petition on Change.org after the district recently announced that graduation would be on June 10. However, that day marks the one-year anniversary of classmate Laura Gonzalez's death. Gonzalez, who would have been graduating this year, committed suicide in 2015.

"We're asking for a date to be changed," said Sabo. "That's it. It's so simple."

Sabo said it is not an honor to graduate on June 10.

Sabo said she asked Principal Francis Thompson and Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Feser if Jonathan Law could swap dates with Foran High School, which is graduating June 9. She was told they could not, so she created her petition. As of Monday night, it had 868 supporters.

Sabo said the school never asked her or Gonzalez's other classmates how they felt about a June 10 graduation.

"They were just like, 'oh we're going to make all the seniors graduate on the 10th and we're not going to think another thing about it,'" said Sabo.

Students are now expressing their feelings on Sabo's petition.

Senior Alice Garlock wrote, "This is objectively wrong to hold graduation on a day full of raw pain."

Others wrote that they want Gonzalez's life celebrated just as much as classmate Maren Sanchez, who was murdered in April of 2014. "They should both be celebrated equally," wrote supporter Jen Rondinelli.

"Just as April 25 is a day for us to remember Maren, June 10 should be the day that we remember Laura," said Sabo.

She added that changing the date should be simple. "Moving it isn't going to be a problem because they constantly moved it throughout the year to accommodate for our snow days," said Sabo.

If the district refuses to move the graduation date, Sabo is prepared to not attend.

"I won't go to graduation if it's on June 10," said Sabo. "And I know that other members of the senior class will not go if it's on June 10."

FOX 61 reached out to the Milford superintendent's office. We were told Dr. Feser is out all week and that the office will not be commenting on the story.