Mother Who Never Graduated High School Accepts Son’s Diploma Days After He Died in a Car Wreck
Katherine Jackson never graduated high school. Neither did her son, Aaron Dunigan. But for two very different reasons.
While Katherine never finished school, her son was killed in a tragic car accident on his way home from prom. Aaron was an 18-year-old athlete who was set to play football at Southern Illinois University.
Aaron died when the driver of the car he was in crossed a median and hit an oncoming truck. The driver of the truck also was killed, while Aaron's friend Mike Crowter was injured. The driver of Aaron's car survived, was charged with a DUI and now faces reckless homicide charges.
A few days later when Aaron, also named the prom king, was supposed to receive his diploma from Thornton Fractional North High School, his mother donned a cap and gown and accepted his diploma for him.
“I’m going to be his legs and he’s going to be my wings and we’re going to go up there and get our diploma,” Katherine told NBC Chicago before the ceremony.
Katherine said the support she continues to receive from Aaron's friends help keep her going after losing her son.
“My son has left a little piece of him in all of them,” she said, “and every time I hug one of them I get a little piece of my baby back.”
Despite the tragic situation in which she lost her son, Katherine maintains a forgiving attitude. She said holds no hateful feelings toward David Peden, the young man driving the car.
"I want to hold him and let him know that Aaron loves him, too," she said.