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Mother unhappy with Enloe HS graduation tribute to deceased Raleigh lifeguard

Posted June 14
Updated June 15

— After weeks of fighting and thousands of signatures on an online petition, Enloe High School on Wednesday night recognized Rachel Rosoff, a senior who died in a Labor Day pool accident last year.

The Rosoff family was happy for their daughter’s friends as they grieved her absence, but mother Michelle Rosoff said she was not pleased with how the school remembered Rachel Rosoff.

The pomp and circumstance at the graduation for Enloe High School is a new beginning for hundreds of students. It was also supposed to bring closure for Rosoff’s family.

“I felt like it was something that was done because it was forced to do,” Michelle Rosoff said.

Michelle Rosoff fought for weeks for the school to recognize her daughter during the graduation ceremony. School leaders eventually agreed on holding a moment of silence, but Michelle Rosoff said it wasn’t a proper tribute to her daughter.

“The moment of silence, it was maybe seven seconds. I mean, my daughter at least deserved a minute,” she said.

A spokeswoman for the Wake County Public School System had no additional comment on the tribute.

Rachael Rosoff was a lifeguard who died in September when she dipped her hand into a pool with faulty ground wiring, received an electrical shock and drowned.

Moment of silence at graduation honors deceased Enloe HS student

Despite the Rosoff family’s frustration, Rachel Rosoff’s fellow students and parents are grateful the school did acknowledge her membership in the class of 2017.

“She helped out with the 4H program, she helped out with homeless people, hunger issues. She helped all around our school,” said student Tykevia Danzy.

“It’s got to bring some comfort to the family and that’s all they were looking for was some comfort,” said parent Tom Laskowski.

Rosoff said she feels comforted knowing how many people loved and admired her daughter.

“People have gone to great lengths to do these things like the bench and this and that and then the night of graduation, it’s like gone and forgotten,” Michelle Rosoff said. “She’s not that easily forgettable. It just hurts.”

Before Wednesday night’s graduation, the Rosoff family attended a time capsule burial with many of their daughter’s friends and visited a garden that was planted on school grounds in her memory.

14 Comments

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  • Stacie Hagwood Jun 15, 1:34 p.m.
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    Losing my daughters (who also graduated from Enloe) would bring more grief than I can even begin to imagine, and while Enloe was originally very heartless and callous, they came around and did the right thing. Graduation is not a tribute to the deceased but a celebration of the triumphs of the students still living. I hope that God brings peace to the Rossof family, and also the realization that life and the living go on, despite loss.

  • Chris Redshaw Jun 15, 1:18 p.m.
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    I recall at Millbrook we had a Senior day prior to graduation in the gym where a slideshow was played, speeches were given and those that we had lost during the school year were remembered. I guess I assumed that was a normal thing done at all high schools. Something like that is the appropriate time and place to be able to remember those that were lost. Graduation day itself, it would be nice if the names were read and their passing acknowledged, but I'm not sure what else should have/could have been done to memorialize this young girl's death. I think the moment of silence was a nice gesture. My heart breaks for this mother and she will grieve for the rest of her days, but it was nice of the school to acknowledge the loss. As others have mentioned, nothing they could have done would have taken her grief away.

  • Jill Glenn Jun 15, 11:06 a.m.
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    I feel for the family as there is no amount of time that would be enough. I don't understand why WRAL feels the need to continue to sensationalize the story. The mom is grieving allow her to do so in peace. This article paints her to be unappreciative and I just don't think that's the case. She is mourning and she needs more time to heal.

  • Matt Wood Jun 15, 11:05 a.m.
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    Wow, so much apathy in this thread. Tributes to students who have died is a pretty normal thing for schools to do at graduations, you hear about them all the time! The real tragedy is that she (and students!) had to fight to even get a moment of silence on the agenda. Shame on the heartless school administration!

  • Teddy Fowler Jun 15, 9:51 a.m.
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    I suspect that if they did do a whole minute, she still would have been unhappy.... hopefully she can soon find solace within herself....

  • Bill Gibson Jun 15, 9:13 a.m.
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    I don't understand some of the logic below. Should we not fly flags at half staff, because it might make passers-by sad? The memorial is to remember someone who was a part of "us" at this special time for the rest of "us." I guess if you treat the death of a beloved principal, coach, teacher or athlete, in the same manner, then "no harm, no foul."

  • Steve Allen Jun 15, 8:50 a.m.
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    Where I am sorry for this woman's loss, I feel what the high school did was appropriate.

  • Shiloh Barkley Jun 15, 8:06 a.m.
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    I think the graduation ceremony is a celebration for the graduates. I don't think their joy should have been distracted with a memorial.

  • Karen Orndorff Jun 15, 7:51 a.m.
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    In the end it doesn't matter what people do or say, the only thing that matters is what God thinks.

  • James Marley Jun 15, 7:50 a.m.
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    While I am very sorry for this mothers loss, I do not see anything wrong with what Enloe HS did. I think its best for this mother to let this go and get back to the healing process.

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