Local News

Enloe student's death creates graduation ceremony debate

Posted May 4
Updated May 5

— The death of an Enloe High School student has causes an ongoing debate about this year's graduation ceremony.

Rachel Rosoff was electrocuted when she fell into Heritage Point Pool last year while working as as a lifeguard. She dipped her hand in the pool to check for chemicals, was shocked and drowned.

Her family wants the school to recognize her during the June commencement ceremony. But school leaders don't plan to, citing a school policy.

According to family and friends, 17-year-old Rosoff participated in theater and dreamed of writing for Saturday Night Live.

"I met Rachel my sophomore year, and we instantly became best friends," Alissa Brasington said.

Brasington, other friends and family thought the school would offer some type of acknowledgement during graduation.

But the school isn't planning any recognition for Rosoff, much to the disappointment of family, friends and some parents with students at Enloe.

"She has a lot of friends here, I'm sure," said Enloe parent Meisha Matthews. "I'm sure she has a lot of people her who love her, and I think it would mean a lot to them."

Rachel's sister started an online petition that currently lists more than 800 signatures. The petition was sent to Wake County school leaders.

"Psychologists do not promote activities like this because it triggers sadness in surviving classmates," a spokesperson for Wake County Schools said in a statement.

Rosoff's best friend Brasington does not agree.

"I think we are old enough to be okay and understand what is going on," Brasington said. "I think we'll be okay if they mention her. It will actually be better than if they don't mention her."

The family said they hope for a moment of silence or a mention of her name and her accomplishments.

Enloe High School graduation is scheduled for June 14.


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  • Rene Centeno May 5, 11:02 a.m.
    user avatar

    I've never commented on this forum but this article is infuriating and tasteless.
    Infuriating thanks to WCPSS. There will be no harm in mentioning this young lady's name. What a slap in the face to the family.
    As for tasteless, WRAL wins the award of the century. I'm used to reading the cute little play on words that writers seem to be obliged to use when writing about certain stories. But using the word "sparks" in this story is not only tasteless, it is highly insensitive, rude, insulting, crass, and what other adjective you'd care to insert. Shame on WRAL!!!!!

  • Lynda Harris May 5, 9:05 a.m.
    user avatar

    This should not even be an issue! If the Wake County Public School administration would like to honor the ENTIRE Enloe Senior Class of 2017, they should have the dignity and respect to not only include Rachel in the Graduation ceremony; but also to acknowledge her achievements and contributions to the school. http://resources.gradimages.com/how-to-use-commencement-to-remember-students-who-have-passed-away

  • Jewel Lee May 5, 8:57 a.m.
    user avatar

    It's too much to ask of the school, or Wake Co to give this family one small piece of joy, satisfaction, or happiness? Nothing can bring the child back, but please, give the family a memory, a moment of pride that they may need to fill a tiny portion on the massive empty hole left in their hearts. I can not comprehend the cold heartedness of whoever will not allow some recognition of the girl. The story will be different when it is one of their kids. They'll probably re-name the gym in their own childs honor.

  • Wendy Runyon May 5, 7:47 a.m.
    user avatar

    What an embarrassment. Isn't it a bit condescending to suggest that simply bringing up a friend's name who tragically died would spark sadness? Simply stating a name doesn't remind people that their friend died. They are reminded of that all the time. It's disrespectful Wake county, no matter how she died, she needs to be recognized. I'm sure the circumstances would be different if the powers that be had lost their child this year.

  • Larry Price May 5, 7:22 a.m.
    user avatar

    It could set a precedent that would pose challenges for the school and the county. Unfortunately, young people die under a variety of circumstances, some of which are viewed in very different ways in our community.

  • Alison Bryan May 5, 6:44 a.m.
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    I agree. "Sparks" is an extremely thoughtless and tacky word to use in the title of an article of the child who was electrocuted and drowned. Shame on you WRAL.

  • Sara Hauser May 5, 6:18 a.m.
    user avatar

    Life isn't always rainbows and butterflies. So WCPSS is afraid of triggering sadness?? These are now adults , not 5 year olds. This is real life. They need to recognize the untimely psssing of a classmate and friend.

  • Chris Dye May 5, 5:57 a.m.
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    "Sparks"? Really WRAL?

  • Michael Bawden May 5, 5:50 a.m.
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    There should be a tradition, such as a memory candle next to podium, at high school graduations. To remember all classmates that would have graduated that year had they not passed forever young. It would reality back into life's journey on truly a momentus occasion. It would enhance the celebration of graduation.

  • Lori Pursley May 5, 1:25 a.m.
    user avatar

    If school officials aren't going to do anything during graduation how about the valedictorian ask for a moment of silence before or after their speech? They could talk about her in part of their speech.