Vanessa Bryant commemorated another milestone in her daughter Gianna’s life on Friday.
Nearly five months after Gianna and her father Kobe Bryant perished in a helicopter crash with seven others, Vanessa honored her on what would have been her eighth-grade graduation day.
Along with a picture of her diploma surrounded by white flowers, Vanessa wrote on Instagram, “Congratulations on your 8th grade graduation Gigi. I love you forever and always. I’m so proud of you. ❤️, Mommy #classof2020.”
In February, Gianna was honored by her school at a jersey-retirement ceremony.
Vanessa shared several videos from the event, where members of the faculty told sweet stories about the 13-year-old.
In one video, the student council faculty advisor shared, “In the seventh grade when she said she’d run for student council, I was so excited. I couldn’t wait to hear and see what she would do to help elevate our student population. We gave her one assignment and she ran with it as quickly and as eagerly as anyone I’ve ever seen. Gianna was an amazing leader in our student council. We will always remember her will to make things better and to strive for excellence.”
In another heartbreaking video, the music teacher said, “I taught Gianna since she was in the fifth grade. This is a person who never slung mud. Talking bad about others — I never heard her do that. She was always above that. She didn’t engage in trivial conversations that were not positive. She stayed positive. That’s something I’ve always remembered about her. She never came to school and bragged. She was one of the most humble people I’ve ever known.”
In the last video that Vanessa shared, Gianna’s #2 jersey was officially retired. A faculty member told the crowd, “Today, we honor Gianna as a student and as an athlete. As a coach, we always want to find and coach students who are committed, dedicated and passionate about a sport. Gianna was all of these. She was determined to learn everything she could about the sport of basketball and worked as hard as possible to develop her basketball skills.”
The faculty member continued, “Today we are retiring Gianna’s basketball jersey to commemorate her athleticism and caring spirit that she shared with us. She will be the last person to wear the number 2 for the basketball team. We hope that when you look at her jersey hanging in our gym, you will remember Gianna and be inspired to work hard.”
Gianna would have turned 14 on May 1.