Classmates leave open seat for murder victim Nick Kauls at graduation

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Nick Kauls is gone, but administrators want to make sure he is not forgotten.

The teenager, who would've graduated with his class Wednesday night, had his life cut short when he was shot and killed during a robbery attempt in Fresno's Fig Garden area last June.

"Nick was such an integral part of this class that it was very tragic what happened to them in the summertime," said principal Tom Spencer. "They rallied together and made it possible to remember him during the school year."

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During Wednesday's graduation rehearsal an open front row seat with some of Nick's belongings was unveiled

Administrators are planning to present Nick's mother with an honorary diploma during the graduation ceremony.

Students will also hand her a special school water bottle signed by all 152 seniors.

"He was a soccer player and a skateboarder," Spencer said. "So we'll have a soccer ball and a skateboard on the stage in one of the seats reserved for him."

It is a heartbreaking reminder of a 17-year old young man who was unable to finish school because of gun violence.

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"Nick, as I said, was just a very very special student. Loved by so many different groups on campus that it's hard to not have him be present," Spencer said. "I love the statement that he's not absent he's invisible. We truly believe he's here with us."

Wednesday's graduation ceremony begins at 7 p.m.
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