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Somber graduation in Plattsburgh after student's death - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Somber graduation in Plattsburgh after student's death

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PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. -

The 2014 Plattsburgh High School graduation had a dark cloud hanging over it Saturday. One graduating senior was absent, Taoufik Maknani.

"You know obviously he was supposed to be here with us, and we didn't forget that he was supposed to be here and graduate. We all got our armbands on, and a lot of kids decorated their hats. Mine has a TM on it," said Devvan Bushey, a Plattsburgh High School graduate.

Maknani died Thursday from an apparent drowning while swimming in the Ausable River in Wilmington, New York. His chair was empty during the ceremony.

"It kind of ruined the celebration mood of it," says Anna Keable, a Plattsburgh High School grad.

The Plattsburgh High School community is suffering the loss of another. A second swimmer who was with Maknani.

"Michaell Lawson," says Cormac McCambridge, a Plattsburgh High School graduate.

Flowers were sold at the graduation for Taoufik Maknani who was supposed to be graduating, and Michaell Lawson who is still missing. The money is going to help their families. School officials say they will be there for the students who are going through tough times.

"It's just an incredibly sad time for the Plattsburgh High School Community, and we just want to make sure that we're able to provide the appropriate amount of support for everybody in the community," said Glenn Hurlock, the Plattsburgh High School Principal.

But in spite of the tears, Plattsburgh High grads managed to smile.

"Taoufik was a party kid, he would have loved to have us celebrate his life instead of feel somber about it right now. So we're trying to keep things light, but we won't forget," said Bushey.

Authorities are still searching the Ausable River for Lawson. Details surrounding the incident are still under investigation.

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