Star student dies just days before graduation

Posted at 6:11 AM, May 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-25 12:23:54-04

He was a superstar in every sense of the word.

He didn’t have a million dollar contract, but he had a million dollar smile.

But Henry D. Griffin died just days before he was to graduate from Cleveland’s East Tech High School, just as his life was taking off.

His father, Henry Griffin, Jr. will carry a piece of his son with him forever. 

“My right hand man on my right hand,” Griffin, Jr. said as he showed the tattoo he just got on the back of his hand that shows his son’s name.

Henry D. Griffin did it all.  Band, bowling, track and football. He was less than a week away from making his family even prouder.  

”That’s all my son talked about. Dad, I’m going to be the first grandchild in our family to graduate high school on time and go to college,”  Griffin, Jr. said.

That college was The Ohio State University at Mansfield.

Henry was the only student from Cleveland schools to be part of Tri-C’s national robotics championship team.  The team beat out 72,000 students from 42 different countries.

“And he called screaming, hollering on the phone yelling on the top of his lungs. He was hoarse saying 'we did it mom, we did it mom. We made it!'”  said Lillian Farris, Henry’s mother.

Henry was asthmatic and was treated at the hospital just two weeks ago. But he died Saturday morning after having a severe attack.

“He’s had it rough with the season’s changing,”  Farris said.

Henry died just a week after cutting a dashing image in his tux for his senior prom.

“And he said to me, 'when I graduate from college I’m going to dress like this everyday.'  So whenever we make funeral arrangements my son will be buried in the same tuxedo,”  Griffin, Jr. said.

Henry’s mother, father and grandmother will accept his high school diploma during East Tech’s graduation Thursday night.