Hunter honored at BCHS graduation Family, students chose to continue with ceremony

Published 4:00 pm Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Bell County High School held its graduation ceremony on Friday, following the untimely passing of one of the graduating students, Dalton Hunter.

Bell County Schools Superintendent Tom Gambrel explained how the decision was made to continue with the planned graduation ceremony following Hunter’s death the day before.

“We really were struggling with the decision of whether to continue or postpone,” Gambrel said. “We talked with Dalton’s mother, and she gave us the blessing to continue, and his sister would accept his diploma on his behalf. We were pleased that she allowed us to continue, and we really feel like it went well.”

Email newsletter signup

Gambrel explained they could not find a good time to reschedule the ceremony.

“We were going to have to face it,” Gambrel said. “I’m just thankful she gave us the go-ahead to continue and we were able to have graduation and honor Dalton at the same time.”

The mood of the students during graduation was impacted by the tragic event.

“It was somber,” Gambrel said. “We felt like it would be better to be together, and they seemed to have the same sentiment. We did talk to a few students, they wanted to be together that night.”

Gambrel described how the students paid tribute to their fallen classmate.

“A really touching event took place,” Gambrel said. “All of them had a can of Arizona Sweet Tea, that was Dalton’s favorite drink. They all enjoyed a sweet tea toward the end of the ceremony together to honor him.”

Gambrel was impressed with how people pulled together in the wake of the tragic event.

“The community came together and raised a bunch of money to help with the funeral expenses,” Gambrel said. “I think it was good for his family to see the graduation, to be there and be a part of it. Even in the midst of tragedy, we came together to celebrate a life and celebrate the graduation of all the seniors. I’m proud of how everyone responded, and how all the folks involved paid tribute to Dalton.”