Jahi McMath's family attends school's 8th grade graduation

Friday, June 13, 2014
Jahi McMath?s family attends school's 8th grade graduation
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Oakland's E.C. Reems Academy honored Jahi McMath who would have graduated the eighth grade with her classmates on Friday.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- So many people in the Bay Area are enjoying the pride of watching their child collect a diploma. Jahi McMath would have graduated the eighth grade on Friday. Her family was there in her place.

Jahi was declared brain dead in December at Children's Hospital Oakland, but her family has never accepted that and successfully moved her to another location.

Though it was bittersweet, Jahi's mother, Nailah Winkfield, found reason to celebrate as she watched her daughter's classmates graduate from the eighth grade at Oakland's E.C. Reems Academy.

Jahi would've been up there too, but for a series of complications after her December surgery at Children's Hospital Oakland left her declared brain dead. The family fought that declaration and now has Jahi at an undisclosed location on a ventilator and feeding tube.

In the meantime, Jahi's family came back to the same school where Jahi started kindergarten to collect her honorary eighth grade diploma.

"It is bittersweet, but a lot of them are her friends. And Jahi's so loving, and even though she can't be here. I know she's happy and she's proud," Winkfield said.

Despite reports to the contrary, the school's principal says they never intended not to honor Jahi at this year's graduation.

"We've always loved her. She's part of the family and it's only appropriate to honor her today," principal Lisa Blair said.

Jahi's classmates told us, they wouldn't have it any other way.

"She wasn't able to do that with us, so instead of being selfish we should like bring her along with us since she's not able to walk the stage with us," student Yuri Hasley said.

"Jahi was a good friend of mine. We always played a lot and did jokes, but it's just hard for her to be gone," eighth grade graduate Emoreea Fountain said.

Jahi's mother won't disclose where she is except to say her daughter is making progress, and she still hopes one day to see Jahi attend her own high school graduation.