Staff Editorial: Nishawn deserves his diploma


Antonio Litterio

The Stamford community was suddenly overcome with grief on Monday, August 26. At approximately 2:30 a.m. a car crash in Stamford’s south end left four people injured and two dead. As you probably know, the two who passed away were 19-year-old SHS graduate Ky-Mani Pollack and a current student, 18-year-old Nishawn Tolliver. 

Pollack was a graduate of Stamford High School Class of 2018. Tolliver was a rising senior with his prospective graduation in 2020. Both were athletes for the Black Knights, and many who remember them say they were known for putting smiles on the faces of their friends and family. 

Since the tragedy, the Stamford community has been very supportive. The morning after the accident, the whole community was in shock. Many people opened up on social media, where accounts flooded with posts honoring the departed teens. In the hallways of Stamford High, many can still be seen wearing sweatshirts and shirts that were custom-made to honor the victims. The Black Knights football team even made helmet decals with the number 12, the number which Ky-Mani wore while playing for us, and NT, the initials of Nishawn Tolliver; these tributes were in place during Friday’s inspired victory over Staples High School.

But amid the outpouring of community support, many people at Stamford High believe that there is another important gesture the school district should take to memorialize Tolliver – allowing him an honorary slot at this year’s graduation ceremony. 

Senior Kaylin Coleman, a friend of Tolliver’s, started a petition to allow Nishawn’s mother to accept his high school diploma on his behalf. While the initial goal was only a few hundred signatures, it has garnered well over 6,000 as of the publication of this editorial. 

The editorial staff at the Round Table have decided to collectively pledge their support of this effort, and ask that the Board of Education grant Nishawn Tolliver an honorary diploma in June of 2020. To be clear, this diploma simply has to be an honorary gesture (rather than an official transcript saying Nishawn completed all the credits required to graduate); no special exemptions or permissions should be required. 

Nishawn was a star forward for the basketball team and was on perfect track to graduate. Moreover, his family and friends would love to have his diploma for remembrance reasons. 

It is the opinion of the editorial staff that granting Tolliver his diploma serves no detriment, only a benefit. In cases like these, we must put politics aside and make the right moral decision.