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TUESDAY July 5, 2022: 'BETTER TOGETHER: Uvalde Senior Mourns Little Sister' by Sam Owens of the San Antonio Express-News with story by Nancy M. Preyor-Johnson. 'My whole body aches for her' A Uvalde High School senior graduates without her little sister. One month after the Uvalde school shooting at Robb Elementary School left 19 children and two teachers dead: A rescheduled graduation ceremony steeped in loss, resiliency. Welcome to 'BETTER TOGETHER: Uvalde Senior Mourns Little Sister'
© zReportage.com Story of the Week #843: TUESDAY July 5, 2022: 'BETTER TOGETHER: Uvalde Senior Mourns Little Sister' by Sam Owens of the San Antonio Express-News with story by Nancy M. Preyor-Johnson. 'My whole body aches for her' A Uvalde High School senior graduates without her little sister. One month after the Uvalde school shooting at Robb Elementary School left 19 children and two teachers dead: A rescheduled graduation ceremony steeped in loss, resiliency. Welcome to 'BETTER TOGETHER: Uvalde Senior Mourns Little Sister'
KADENCE KUBISH embraces friends in the parking lot of Honey Bowl Stadium following the Uvalde High School graduation ceremony, Friday night. The entire day was marked with moments of joy and sadness for Kadence, who celebrated a big milestone while also mourning the loss of her 10-year-old step-sister Makenna, who was killed in the Robb Elementary massacre exactly one month before.
© Sam Owens/San Antonio Express-News via ZUMA Press Wire
Uvalde High School graduates including KADENCE KUBISH, third from left, walk to their seats at the start of the ceremony at Honey Bowl Stadium. The event was originally set for May 27, but was post-posted after the May 24 massacre at Robb Elementary School that killed 21 people, including Kubish's 10-year-old step-sister Makenna Elrod.
© Sam Owens/San Antonio Express-News via ZUMA Press Wire
Graduates process to their seats at the start of the graduation ceremony honoring 302 seniors from Uvalde High School, Uvalde Early College High School and Crossroads Academy at Honey Bowl Stadium. The event was originally set for May 27, but the May 24 mass shooting at Robb Elementary School caused the ceremony to be rescheduled.
© Sam Owens/San Antonio Express-News via ZUMA Press Wire
APRIL ELROD tells her partner JACOB KUBISH to get ready to pull out his phone to take pictures of his daughter Kadence Kubish walking across the stage during the Uvalde High School graduation ceremony at Honey Bowl Stadium.
© Sam Owens/San Antonio Express-News via ZUMA Press Wire
JACOB KUBISH, center, jokingly requests that his daughter KADENCE cover up her legs with her graduation gown as he takes pictures of her which draws laughs from her sister CAYDEN, step-mom April and friend Libby. The family met up outside of Honey Bowl Stadium to take pictures and share hugs after the Uvalde High School graduation ceremony.
© Sam Owens/San Antonio Express-News via ZUMA Press Wire
A large crowd sits on the home side of Honey Bowl Stadium for the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District graduation ceremony honoring 302 graduates from Uvalde High School, Uvalde Early College High School and Crossroads Academy in Uvalde, Texas, Friday evening. The event was originally set for May 27, but the May 24 mass shooting at Robb Elementary School that killed 19 children and two teachers caused the ceremony to be rescheduled. Seniors were not required to attend the ceremony to receive their diploma and added security measures were taken to make residents more comfortable.
© Sam Owens/San Antonio Express-News via ZUMA Press Wire
Graduates prepare to walk to their seats at the start of the Uvalde CISD graduation ceremony at Honey Bowl Stadium. The event was originally set for May 27, but was post-posted after the May 24 massacre at Robb Elementary School that killed 19 children and two teachers.
© Sam Owens/San Antonio Express-News via ZUMA Press Wire
Kadence's graduation cap and gown were a tribute to her step-sister Makenna, one of 19 school children killed in the Robb Elementary massacre on May 24.
© Sam Owens/San Antonio Express-News via ZUMA Press Wire
KADENCE holds a note that Makenna gave her during the senior walk held at Robb Elementary the day before the May 24 massacre. Graduating seniors, including Kadence, dressed in their cap and gowns walked the halls of Robb Elementary while being cheered on by giggling second, third and fourth graders. The note from Makenna said she wishes her sister would have failed the STAAR test so she could stay home, instead of moving away for college. 'I love you. I do not want you to move.'
© Sam Owens/San Antonio Express-News via ZUMA Press Wire
KADENCE KUBISH tries on her graduation cap as she continues preparing for the Uvalde High School graduation ceremony. She put a homemade charm with a picture of her step-sister Makenna on her graduation tassel and decorated the top of her cap as a tribute to the 10-year-old who died in the May 24 massacre.
© Sam Owens/San Antonio Express-News via ZUMA Press Wire
JACOB KUBISH shows off the tattoo he recently got to honor his 10-year-old step-daughter Makenna on his bicep. It features her initials MLE and a purple butterfly. Makenna loved butterflies and her family plans to build a backyard butterfly garden in her honor.
© Sam Owens/San Antonio Express-News via ZUMA Press Wire
KADENCE KUBISH, 17, embraces her stepsister CAYDEN, 13, as they react to the excitement and grief of the day before leaving for Kadence's high school graduation ceremony in Uvalde. Friday marked one month since the family lost 10-year-old Makenna in the Robb Elementary massacre, while also celebrating Kadence's rescheduled graduation.
© Sam Owens/San Antonio Express-News via ZUMA Press Wire
APRIL ELROD comforts her 13-year-old daughter CAYDEN as they are both overcome by emotion following the Uvalde High School graduation ceremony at Honey Bowl Stadium. The event was bittersweet, as the Elrod-Kubish family celebrated 17-year-old Kadence's graduation while mourning the loss of 10-year-old Makenna exactly one month after the Robb Elementary mass shooting.
© Sam Owens/San Antonio Express-News via ZUMA Press Wire
BRIAR KUBISH, 7, and her stepbrother HOLDEN ELROD, 8, eat lunch at the table in their living room, where a memorial photo of their 10-year-old sibling Makenna Elrod is displayed. Makenna was one of 19 school children who were killed in the May 24 massacre at Robb Elementary in Uvalde.
© Sam Owens/San Antonio Express-News via ZUMA Press Wire
APRIL ELROD receives a hug from her 8-year-old son HOLDEN ELROD as they share memories about Makenna, one of 19 school children who were killed at Robb Elementary on May 24. On the day of the shooting, Holden, also a Robb Elementary student, escaped the school physically unharmed while April was on lock down inside her first grade classroom at Dalton Elementary, another Uvalde school.
© Sam Owens/San Antonio Express-News via ZUMA Press Wire
KADENCE KUBISH embraces her 7-year-old sister BRIAR KUBISH as they sit in their living room, Friday afternoon. The day marked a month since the May 24 massacre at Robb Elementary that killed 19 school children and 2 teachers, including their 10-year-old step-sister Makenna. It was also the day of Kadence's rescheduled high school graduation ceremony.
© Sam Owens/San Antonio Express-News via ZUMA Press Wire
A note left on the bottom of Kadence's full length mirror by Makenna reads 'I love you, the best sis ever.' Seventeen-year-old Kadence said 10-year-old Makenna often left hidden notes for her family to find in their backpacks, cars and throughout the house.
© Sam Owens/San Antonio Express-News via ZUMA Press Wire
KADENCE KUBISH tries on her graduation cap as she continues preparing for the Uvalde High School graduation ceremony. She put a homemade charm with a picture of her step-sister Makenna on her tassel and decorated the top of her cap as a tribute to the 10-year-old who died in the May 24 massacre.
© Sam Owens/San Antonio Express-News via ZUMA Press Wire
CAYDEN SEILER, 13, watches her stepsister KADENCE KUBISH, 17, get ready for her graduation ceremony. The teens are close, often sharing clothes and make up with each other.
© Sam Owens/San Antonio Express-News via ZUMA Press Wire
APRIL ELROD receives a hug from her 13-year-old daughter CAYDEN SEILER as they share memories about 10-year-old Makenna at their home. 'We miss her, Elrod said. 'My whole body aches for her. We miss her every day. There's a hole.'
© Sam Owens/San Antonio Express-News via ZUMA Press Wire
HOLDEN ELROD, 8, and CAYDEN SEILER, 13, help their stepsister KADENCE adjust her robe before leaving for the Uvalde High School graduation ceremony in Uvalde.
© Sam Owens/San Antonio Express-News via ZUMA Press Wire
CAYDEN SEILER, 13, from left, fist-bumps KADENCE KUBISH, 17, before posing for a portrait with their siblings BRIAR KUBISH, 7, and CAILEY SEILER, 15, at their farmstead home in Uvalde.
© Sam Owens/San Antonio Express-News via ZUMA Press Wire
KADENCE KUBISH shares a laugh with her stepbrother HOLDEN ELROD while trying to persuade him to take a family photo before leaving for her high school graduation ceremony. A moment before Kadence comforted Holden as he cried at the thought of her leaving for college. 'Hey, any time you are missing her, we'll get in the truck and go to San Antonio so we can see her, I promise,' Jacob told Holden.
© Sam Owens/San Antonio Express-News via ZUMA Press Wire
JACOB KUBISH, center, talks about his stepdaughter MAKENNA as he sits between his stepdaughter CAYDEN SEILER, 13, left, and daughter BRIAR KUBISH, 7, at their home in Uvalde.
© Sam Owens/San Antonio Express-News via ZUMA Press Wire
CAILEY, 13, and HOLDEN, 8, wait for the rest of their family to finish getting dressed at their home, before leaving for Kadence's graduation ceremony.
© Sam Owens/San Antonio Express-News via ZUMA Press Wire
APRIL ELROD smiles as she watches her 17-year-old stepdaughter Kadence Kubish prepare for her high school graduation ceremony. Kadence's gown and cap were decorated as a tribute to 10-year-old Makenna, who the family is openly mourning for every day.
© Sam Owens/San Antonio Express-News via ZUMA Press Wire
KADENCE KUBISH poses for a picture with her high school diploma as a friend embraces her father JACOB KUBISH, right, following the graduation ceremony at Honey Bowl Stadium in Uvalde. 'It felt like it would be wrong of us to not to do the graduation ceremony just because something tragic happened in our town,' Kadence said. 'We can't change our entire life and the way we live because somebody did something and ruined so many families.'
© Sam Owens/San Antonio Express-News via ZUMA Press Wire
Sam Owens

SAM OWENS is a staff photographer for the San Antonio Express-News and a new resident of San Antonio, Texas. She recently worked as a staff photojournalist for the Evansville Courier & Press in Evansville Indiana. She also served as the Midwest Regional Chair for the National Press Photographers Association and the contest chairwoman for the Indiana News Photographers Association's annual Photographer of the Year competition. She is a 2014 graduate of Ohio University's School of Visual Communication, where she earned a B.S. in Visual Communication and a specialization in Anthropology. Sams images are available through ZUMA Press.:843



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