On Monday, senior Jordan Trunfio became the first West Springfield High School (WSHS) student to graduate from the class of 2013, receiving his diploma surrounded by family and friends.
But instead of marching across a stage, Trunfio took the diploma from school officials while he was in a hospital bed.
The milestone came three days before Trunfio — a star football player for the Spartans — died Thursday after a battle with brain cancer, a battle many say bonded the school's community in a way that won't soon be forgotten.
- Community Remembers Senior Jordan Trunfio as 'Definition of a Warrior'
A message was sent to parents and students notifying them of Trunfio's death through the Fairfax County Public Schools Keep in Touch automated system just after 7 p.m. on Thursday.
- Read the full West Springfield High School Statement on Death of Jordan Trunfio.
Friends and family had hoped Trunfio would be able to graduate with the rest of his class June 14.
"Jordan Trunfio will forever be remembered by the Spartan community as a true inspiration and example of grace and strength. Rest in Peace," WSHS Guidance Counselor Jeff Stahl said in a Twitter post on Thursday night.
Trunfio was diagnosed with anaplastic astrocytoma grade III tumor in March 2012, according to his EverRibbon funding page.
From the start, Trunfio and his community rallied to fight the disease. He stayed on the team in a less intense role during the Fall 2012 season, Fairfax County School Board member Elizabeth Schultz (Springfield) said Thursday night.
Community groups made it possible for Trunfio and his father to attend the 2013 Super Bowl, where he saw his "beloved Ravens" win the title, Schultz said.
He was also crowned Homecoming King by his fellow classmates in 2012, and served as chair of the Springfield-Burke Relay for Life, which raised more than $167,000 last month.
His football jersey was also framed and presented to him Monday. On Thursday, the school announced it has retired the teen's No. 58 in his honor.
Schultz also read a resolution, adopted by the school board, honoring Trunfio, his life and legacy.
Funeral arrangements for Trunfio have not yet been announced, but WSHS students are planning to wear white to school Friday.