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Bench unveiled in teen's memory

Friends, family gather to remember Sara Hargraves at E.V. Cain
By: Loryll Nicolaisen, Journal Staff Writer
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Sara Hargraves now has her own special spot at E.V. Cain Middle School. Dozens of family and friends gathered on campus Thursday afternoon, on the one-year anniversary of the Auburn teen’s death, for the dedication of a bench created in her memory. “I know Sara is watching over us and I can feel her every day,” Nicole Peterson, Hargraves’ mother, told the group. “I just know she is really thrilled this bench is here.” Sara died April 17, 2007 at the age of 13, from complications brought on by pneumonia. Sara, who was an E.V. Cain Middle School eighth-grader, suffered from autoimmune hepatitis from the time she was 7. Her white-blood cell count dropped low enough for her parents to put her on home health school for the last two months before her death. “She was always a trooper — she never complained,” Peterson told the Journal in 2007. “She always kept her chin up. She just really had a good attitude. She never acted like she was sick.” Peterson said her daughter’s former teachers at Alta Vista School raised the funds for the bench, which sits under a tree in the grassy area outside E.V. Cain’s library. Valerie Jeppson is one of Hargraves’ former teachers. “I’ve known her for many years, and when she first got sick, she was my student,” the Alta Vista second-grade teacher said at Thursday’s dedication. Family and friends agreed that the bench was a nice way to pay tribute to Sara. “We might have to take this home,” remarked Brian Hargraves, Sara’s father, after family members unveiled the bench Thursday. Those in attendance were invited to share their memories of Sara. “Memories of her still put a smile on my face, every day since she’s been gone,” family friend Chelcie Bullen said. “Sara, I love and miss you every day.” The Journal’s Loryll Nicolaisen can be reached at lorylln@goldcountrymedia.com, or comment online at auburnjournal.com.