HOUSTON - Some 700 high school seniors within the YES Prep system announced on Tuesday where they would be going to college during a ceremony at the Toyota Center.
Among the group, there was an empty seat: that of Jocelynn Valero.
By no means was it easy to mention Valero in the ceremony without her there.
On the Jumbotron appeared Valero in her cap and gown, as well as the name of the school she was suppose to attend next fall.
In her seat were purple flowers.
Purple was Valero's favorite color.
The teenager was killed during a police chase as she made her way home from prom last weekend.
With Valero in the car were her best friends, Bethany Alcaraz and Olivia Carlos.
"We were her close friends since sixth grade. This year we told each other we would take pictures for our graduation. We've all been together. Me, Moses, Jocelynn, Bethany," Carlos said.
Moses Avila was Valero's prom date.
He's in a hospital recovering from what happened last Saturday night, when an alleged drunken driver crashed into them, killing Valero.
As her classmates lined up today, that feelings were mixed proved to be an understatement.
"Being together for seven years and making it all the way to the end and not having everyone there has been really hard for a lot of students," Michelle LaFlure, school director Yes Prep North Central, said.
"It's hard. We're doing it for her. They gave us the option of being here, and we knew that in honor of her we wanted to celebrate her accomplishments, also," Alcaraz said.
In his closing remarks, the CEO of the YES Prep system encouraged students who are dealing with this loss to remember Valero's legacy and build on it by encouraging others and achieving big things in her memory.