Hanford High School to honor Dmetri Kennedy-Woody at graduation
RICHLAND, Wash. – Hanford High seniors will be honoring their dear friend Dmetri Kennedy-Woody at graduation Friday, after he passed away in the Yakima River just days before he would receive his diploma.
"When I think of Dmetri I think of walking into the weight room and seeing a kid dancing, seeing a kid smiling, seeing a kid joking around,” said Eric Davis, Hanford High athletic director.
“But also coming in to work hard to make sure the programs here at Hanford High School and he himself personally, succeed."
Davis said Dmetri was integral to the football team last year, making the play-off run, as well as making huge hits for the baseball program and remarkable plays in the outfield.
Dmetri excelled in both sports, taking All Conference in football and baseball.
Coaches describe him as an extraordinary athlete, a devoted teammate, and a natural leader.
"He was the kind of kid who was out on the football field early, out on the baseball diamond early, he was in the weight room all summer long," Davis said.
“He’s the person people connected with because he was easy to talk to, but he also led by his actions.”
At graduation on Friday, there will be a moment of silence to honor and remember his life. As a graduating student, Dmetri's name will be called.
"We've encouraged our students to cheer during that time. It's a great time for him,” Davis said. “He's earned this opportunity by attending Hanford High School for four years and passing all those classes and we want it to be very special for him."
In the front of the student section, Dmetri's jerseys, photo, and cap and gown will rest in a chair alongside his graduating peers.
Although he's not home, Davis said he's still here.
"We know he's looking down on us and that he lived his life with humor and he lived it with joy and he'd want [students] to do the same thing," he said.
On graduation day, seniors, staff and family will be wearing a button, with Dmetri's initials and numbers.
"Those numbers will always be associated with DKW. The number three in the football program, number one in the baseball program,” Davis said.
“Whenever those jerseys are worn by someone else the coaches here are going to talk about him and the things that he brought to the table and the things that he did as a leader and the things that made him special."
As an outstanding graduating falcon, Dmetri's legacy will live on.
"Dmetri was a multi-year, multi-sport Hanford Falcon letterman who represented Hanford baseball and football on numerous All Conference and All Tournament teams. His athleticism was extraordinary and obvious on fields and diamonds all around the Northwest. More than that, Dmetri was a passionate and loyal son, brother, friend, and teammate. His infectious smile and outgoing personality lit up rooms and drew everyone's attention to his kindness, intelligence and humor. Dmetri was an exceptional young man who was taken much too early, from a world that he would have helped; rest in peace." - Coach Rowe