MARION, AL (WSFA) - The Francis Marion School senior class is raising money for one of their classmates who has not lost one, but both parents.
Xavier Lee is like most high school seniors. He is ready to walk across the stage and be handed his diploma.
"It will be a proud moment for me and for my family," said Xavier Lee.
What should be one of the happiest times of his life has been overshadowed by grief.
"My dad said he wanted me to go off to college so I am doing it for him," said Lee.
Last month Lee's father passed away. This comes nearly six years after his mother's death.
"It has kind of been emotional, but my classmates help pick me up," said Lee.
Wanting to help their classmate, the senior class at Francis Marion stepped up. They set up a GoFundMe page and donations started pouring in.
"We are a small community and when one of our own is down we are here uplift them," said FMS senior class president Edgretta Ward.
Already more than $600 has been raised. All the money will go towards Lee's college essentials as he prepares to head off to Alabama A&M to study agriculture this fall.
"It is a big load off my shoulders I have to say," said Lee.
Principal Cathy Trimble says the selfless efforts of these students showcase what Francis Marion is all about.
"We are a school that is working to rise up. This is a way our school is rising up to help to make a difference," said Trimble.
Lee will graduate in the top 5 of his class next Tuesday. Many believe he has shown great resilience in the midst of this devastating loss.
"No matter the obstacles you are facing you are strong enough to climb those mountains and overcome those mountains," said Trimble.
Now, the Senior class has not reached its goal yet for the funds they are raising for Xavier.