Seniors graduating from Pitman High School Wednesday night participated in a less than celebratory ceremony as they mourn the loss of classmate Victor Rodriguez.

18-year-old Rodriguez drowned just days before graduation while swimming in Alcyon Lake in Pitman.

The cap and gown Victor would have worn Wednesday night to accept his diploma sat rested on an empty chair at Davis Field among his fellow seniors. The graduating students wore white ribbons in his honor, 6abc.com reports.

Imaginably, there were a lot of sad tears mixed with the happy as the students were honored for their achievements, Rodriguez undoubtedly on their minds.

Victor's family attended the ceremony, accepting his high school diploma on his behalf.

The PHS Class of 2023 won't ever forget their graduation because of this heartbreaking incident. I know how they all must be feeling because just one day after my high school graduation from Paul VI in 1993, our classmate Jimmy Jamieson suffered an unexpected medical emergency and passed away. The memory of us accepting our diplomas the day before remains clouded in my memory.

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As of Thursday, a GoFundMe page established to help give Victor Rodriguez a proper funeral has raised over $57,000.

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