On Thursday, Northeast held a modified graduation at Spectrum Field.
During the ceremony, the students’ thoughts turned to the one person missing: Jacquez Welch.
In September, Welch collapsed during a game. Doctors at Bayfront Health discovered Welch had the rare arteriovenous malformation, an abnormal tangle of blood vessels and arteries that can cause bleeding on the brain if ruptured.
Days later, Welch was taken off life support and his organs were donated.
Still, the school found a way to honor Welch at graduation. Welch’s mother, Marcia Nelson, walked across the stage to receive a certificate of honor. She was accompanied by Welch’s siblings.
Northeast’s football program will continue to honor Welch for years to come.
The school plans to set up a $5,000 scholarship in Welch’s honor. Vikings coach Jeremy Frioud said each season his players will be required to write a sentence that best exemplifies Welch. The words will be displayed on a wall in the locker room, where Welch’s framed jersey will hang. The player who best embodies those traits will be awarded the scholarship.
More on Jacquez Welch
Tampa Bay Times: Northeast High football player Jacquez Welch removed from life support
Tampa Bay Times: Northeast High football coach after Jacquez Welch’s death: ‘This broke me’
Tampa Bay Times: Pinellas football community rallies around Northeast High