SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Family members and supporters of two Shreveport high school students who passed away recently gathered on Monday to honor their lives and memories.

Bria Sutton and Mackenzie Jewitt were C.E. Byrd High School students who recently passed away. The ‘Walk on Line’ was originally going to be more of a demonstration calling for their recognition at what would have been their upcoming graduation. It became more of a walk to remember their lives and honor their memories after the Caddo Parish school district announced a new policy allowing them to be honored as their families requested.

Caddo Parish Public Schools announced the new district-wide policy last week after an online petition gathered thousands of signatures in less than 24 hours. The petition called for Byrd’s principal to honor a request by Mackenzie’s parents to leave a seat vacant in her honor and call her name as an honorary graduate with a moment of silence at the upcoming ceremony on May 26.

So instead of calling for change, friends and family gathered Monday with signs remembering Mackenzie and Bria and walked from Line Avenue and Linden Street around to the front of Byrd High School in something of a victory lap.

Mackenzie’s parents said they are grateful that the fight to honor their daughter led to district-wide change.

“Just really appreciative of the community,” said Gavilan Jewitt, wearing a #KENZIEMATTERS t-shirt. “Just the outpour from everyone signing the petition. I think the last time I checked, there were like 26,000 signatures, and people were just really supportive and also putting together this walk for this today, just recognizing my daughter. It means a lot, it really does.”

“But it is a very joyful moment because at the end of the day we were able to stand on behalf of Mackenzie,” added Mackenzie’s mother, Raylette Pinkston. “No other family has to go through if they are, you know, if they have to go through a process like this and lose their child, they don’t have to worry about their child being honored.”

The sister of Bria Sutton’s sister Kitlyn Sutton expressed her gratitude.

“I’m just glad that Caddo came out with a new policy saying that if a kid passes away during their high school career they still get honored at graduation.”