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Bear River High School Graduating Class Remembers Classmates Killed in Crash

GRASS VALLEY -- Bear River High School's class of 2017 had a big reason to celebrate Friday night, but also a tragic reason to reflect on their final year.

While the Grass Valley school held its graduation ceremony it honored two classmates who died unexpectedly just six months prior.

Joe Rantz and Jude Douden, seniors at Bear River High School, died in a car accident on Highway 49 in December.

Rantz and Douden's memories were honored all throughout the night.

The boys' senior pictures were displayed on the field. A classmate's drawing of the two was included in the program. A song, written by the symphonic band, was played for Douden, who played the saxophone.

After the principal made a speech about the boys, Douden's sister accepted his diploma. Rantz's friend accepted his.

Rantz and Douden's memories will also continue to live on around the school.

A black box with their names on it houses notes left by students in their memory. The boys' families have the key so they can collect and read the notes left by their sons' classmates whenever they want.