When commencement exercises begin later this month at Pascagoula High, one graduate will be missing. Chelsea Hust was killed in a car accident in 2003 at the end of her sophomore year.
"My daughter is Chelsea Hust," Debbie Hust said. "She was killed by a reckless driver two years ago."
Hust had avoided the moment for two years. She was afraid she'd see the pain of her daughter's death in the eyes of her young classmates.
"She was killed two years ago on May 22nd," said Hust. "Graduation is May 20th, so the anniversary is right on top of graduation. For the last two years, I've done a great job avoiding the high school because I didn't want to break down in front of them."
On Monday, Hust mustered the strength to go back to Pascagoula High where a seven-foot granite memorial will be engraved with the names of students who've died.
"We wanted something that would last," she said. "It's not just for Chelsea, it's for all the children. Unfortunately, she won't be the last one."
Chelsea's friends say the memorial is a way for her to go on touching lives forever.
"I think its great," said Janyse Jones, who had been friends with Chelsea since third grade. "I think it will help kids here understand that life is precious. To have a memorial here every day you come to school, you can think about what happened and how we should try to live our lives to the fullest."
Organizers say so far they've received nine names for the monument. They are looking for donations so the memorial can be built by the start of the next school year.
If you would like to help you can make a donation at any Hancock Bank. Just ask for the PHS Memorial account.