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Freire Charter High School graduation ceremony honors Philadelphia student killed in drive-by shooting

Philadelphia student receives scholarship in memory of classmate killed in shooting
Philadelphia student receives scholarship in memory of classmate killed in shooting 01:55

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (CBS) – Dozens of students graduated from Freire Charter High School Monday without one of their classmates, a boy who was murdered three years ago in a drive-by shooting.

Antonio Walker was 15 years old when he was gunned down while walking in Southwest Philadelphia in March 2021.

"Antonio was not the intended target at all," said Nydisha Williams, Antonio's mother. "It was some gang-related stuff. … Antonio just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time."

Williams accepted her son's diploma on his behalf during the graduation ceremony at the Dell Music Center. She said it was an emotional moment.

"Very grateful that we were able to be a part of the graduation, but obviously very sad, because I want nothing more than my son to be here," Williams said.

The school presented an $8,000 scholarship to one of Antonio's classmates to honor his memory.

"It means a lot to me, knowing Antonio was one of my best friends growing up," Alanna Walker-Kegler, who received the scholarship, said. She is planning to study criminal justice at Widener University. "It just hits home for me, and I appreciate it a lot."

The scholarship was created by one of Williams' friends, Christopher Cieri, who collected donations from small businesses.

"I'm so honored and proud to be here today to honor Antonio's spirit," Cieri said. "We'd all rather have Antonio here, obviously, but to honor him and his spirit with a scholarship is amazing."

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