Clewiston High School student dies in crash day before graduating

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Julian Avalo, a senior at Clewiston High School, died in a crash on Thursday. (CREDIT: WINK News)

A senior at Clewiston High School was set to graduate with his classmates on Friday. Instead, the 18-year-old died in a crash.

The Florida Highway Patrol said Julian Avalo lost control of his car in the rain on Flaghole Road, south of US-27, in Hendry County on Thursday. His car collided with a semi.

Avalo, a kidney transplant survivor, didn’t make it, but his family will remember him as a fighter.

His family said he worked hard to graduate from Clewiston High School to walk across the stage and get his diploma, and they made sure he would still have that moment, as his dad made the decision to walk in his son’s honor.

With pride, sorrow, and his son filling his heart, Carlos Avaló walked across the stage to accept his son’s high school diploma.

“I was going to give him a kidney, but I didn’t qualify because I had cancer in my kidney, and he saved my life,” Carlos said. “Now, he’s doing it again with the walk. I never walked, and he made me walk for a diploma.”

“Today was his day. He made it. We were very proud of his accomplishments. He did it. He was real happy to graduate, and he was so excited. He was looking forward to it, and I couldn’t miss that for him.”

Julian was dedicated to his community, a loving son and friend. Even though he had been through so much, he always smiled.

Due to dialysis treatments, Julian was homeschooled for a portion of high school, but his kidney transplant allowed him to bring his smiling face back to walking down the hallways.

“He never complained, never gave up,” Carlos said. “He just smiled all the time.”

Even though he couldn’t walk with them, Julian’s classmates made sure he was right there celebrating.

“I would have never imagined that such beautiful things would have been done in his honor,” said Julian’s aunt, Marlene Avalo-Gonzalez. “It’s beautiful.”

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