Memorial High Students Commemorate Murdered Kayla Ferrante's Birthday

Friday, March 8th 2013, 6:27 pm

By: News On 6

Less than a year ago, one day after her graduation from Tulsa's Memorial High School, Kayla Ferrante was tragically gunned down in a case of mistaken identity.

Friday would have been Ferrante's birthday. Friends from Memorial offered tribute to the life she lived and the future she lost.

7/27/2012 Related Story: Arrest Made In Kayla Ferrante Murder; Witness Says It Was Mistaken ID In Gang Hit

The people who loved Kayla decided to dye their hair blue today in her honor, which really helped her family smile on an otherwise devastating day.

But Kayla was also honored in a more serious way, something that will last years into the future.

Special needs students and their peer educators at Memorial sang Happy Birthday to the murder victim.

Ferrante worked with these students her senior year and grew to love them so much that she decided to make it her career.

"She modeled respect, acceptance, appreciation for people of different abilities and advocacy for people with special needs," special education teacher Janet Parker said.

Ferrante's dreams were cut short last year after she was shot and killed while riding in a car with her boyfriend.

Police said gang members mistakenly thought they were shooting at rival gang members.

Reward money was collected to find the killer, but a suspect was arrested without a tip, so that $10,000 was donated to Memorial's special needs program at Memorial and part of the money was used to create a trophy case to honor the accomplishments of special needs students and their peer tutors.

Each month, a student will be chosen and then, one annually will be named on the plaque.

Emily Edwards was honored this month for being an outstanding role model.

Ferrante's parents love the idea of their daughter's memory being used to encourage and honor others.

"I like that it will encourage students, even years beyond, once these kids have moved on, to continue to help our community, all of our community," Ferrante's mother Roxanne Thornton said.

05/27/2012 Related Story: Tulsa Teen, Recent Graduate Shot And Killed Saturday Night

The family said it continues to be overwhelmed and grateful for the outpouring from the Tulsa community since the murder.

"This day is horrifically difficult," Roxanne Thornton said. "To see everybody join together, maybe not all in one place at one time, but through pictures and [facebook] posts and everything, it's been helpful."

The trial for the murder suspect, 24-year-old Edwin Jermaine Daniels, is scheduled to begin next month.


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