KIPP Atlanta pays tribute to fallen student at graduation

A teen killed in a shooting outside an Old Fourth Ward apartment last year was honored by KIPP Atlanta Collegiate High School during a graduation ceremony on Friday morning. 

Ebonie Hardy said her son Jayon worked hard to walk across the stage for his high school graduation determined to join the Air Force. That's why she feels honored to accept his graduation stole when he could not. 

"Endless nights of conversations, work hard, do hard, do your best, and he was doing it, he was doing it," Hardy said. 

"It's been difficult, but this kind of made me feel whole," she added. 

She said Jayon was visiting a friend at an apartment complex off Boulevard NE on June 19 of last year when he was shot. He later died from his injuries. 

"Three unknown men stood behind a breezeway door and shot through it and shot my son six times," Hardy explained. 

The school's principal says it was important to them to still recognize Jayon with what would have been his graduating class. 

"It's what Jayon deserved. Over the summer, me and him practiced how he would walk across the stage, shake my hand, and look at the camera. A couple of weeks after that, that's when we had the tragedy that happened with him, so that's why today was so important. Because we practiced it. It was only right that we made it happen," Arthur Washington, principal of KIPP Atlanta Collegiate High School, explained. 

Meanwhile, the search for the person or people who killed Jayon continues. 

"Just speak up, say something, because I need closure, and I need some answers," Hardy said. 

Atlanta police say the investigation into last June's shooting is ongoing.