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Bartow High awards diploma to teen who died saving sister and mom from strong current

Posted at 4:22 PM, May 29, 2017

Austin Welch is remembered as outgoing, friends with anyone and willing to help everyone.

Friday, he would have graduated with his Bartow High School classmates as the class of 2017.

But, as Austin always did, he tried to save the day last fall when his sister and mother were up over the head in water along the Peace River.

Austin jumped in to save his then 11-year-old sister and his mother, Barbie Engle. He died in the same current he was trying to save his family from.

RELATED: Parents of boy who drowned trying to save sister: "He's a hero"

At this year's Bartow High commencement ceremony, Austin's family was given an honorary diploma.

His mother took a Facebook live video to document the special moment.

In it, you can see her raise his ashes, and the stadium erupted in cheers. 

Austin has also been anonymously nominated for a Carnegie Hero Award.