Four Corners high school honors murdered classmate at graduation

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — It’s graduation season and hundreds of students across New Mexico are walking across the stage to grab their diplomas.

At a school in the Four Corners, graduates made sure one of their own could still be honored.

At 11 years old, Ashlynn Mike was murdered near Shiprock on the Navajo Nation.

Seven years later, Kirtland Central High School presented Ashlynn’s family with an honorary diploma during graduation Saturday.

“It’s really a delight to know that my daughter is remembered so far,” said Gary Mike, Ashlynn’s father.

As her family accepted the honor, everyone stood up one by one, side-by-side.

Ashlynn’s family wishes it was her receiving the diploma but the bittersweet moment brings a sense of comfort.

“This is one way we can remind ourselves that Ashlynne is alive in our hearts and in our mind,” her father said.

Based on the ceremony, that positive, joyous little girl is still alive in many people’s hearts and minds.

Her memory is also still alive in the form of Ashlynn’s Law. In 2018, lawmakers enacted it to ensure Amber Alerts exist on tribal lands.