- Associated Press - Thursday, November 26, 2015

JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) - A woman whose son was killed in the 2011 Joplin tornado wants him recognized with an empty seat at this spring’s high school graduation.

The Joplin Globe (https://bit.ly/1Sn7uGU ) reports that Tammy Niederhelman told the school board Tuesday that she also wants to hear her son’s name read. Her child, Zachary Williams, was 12 when he died and would have graduated this spring. She says deceased students should have the “honor” and that their “memory deserves it.”

Joplin High School Principal Kerry Sachetta says the challenge of planning the 2016 ceremony is balancing the focus on the graduating students with honoring the five-year anniversary of the tornado. Current plans call for a moment of silence for all 161 tornado victims, including the seven Joplin students and one staff member who died.

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Information from: The Joplin (Mo.) Globe, https://www.joplinglobe.com

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