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'Sarah should be here' Liberty High School graduates remember classmate who died in 2022

Class of 2024 wears pink bracelets to commemorate Sarah Marler
Posted at 7:17 PM, May 31, 2024

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Sarah Marler died in a crash in December 2022. She would have graduated in 2024. In her honor, her childhood friend Lamera Farhat gave custom bracelets to the class of '24 to wear on graduation night.

  • Video shows Liberty High School graduation, photos of Sarah Marler, and the playground where she used to play with Lamera Farhat
  • In her honor, her childhood friend Lamera Farhat gave custom bracelets to the class of '24 to wear on graduation night.

Liberty High School seniors walk this stage on Thursday to celebrate their accomplishments and the beginning of a new chapter.
But, for the class of 2024, it's also a time to remember one of their classmates who won't be walking with them.

Hundreds of families cheered on their graduates as faculty members called their names.

In the crowd, one mom watched the celebration, knowing her daughter would never walk this stage.

"I know she would be super super happy," Autumn Montes, Sarah Marler's mom said. "I could see her in her little gown."

Autumn Montes, Sarah Marler's mom adopted her at 3 years old and remembers taking her daughter to this park as a kid with her childhood best friend, Lamera Farhat.

"I loved whenever I would get off the bus, she would always tell me to be safe," Farhat said. "She would say that to everyone."

Montes tells me she just started letting Sarah ride her skateboard to school in December 2022.

"I even two days before, because I was up at five in the morning, and I was like I don't like you going to school this early," Montes recalled.

Montes says Sarah took herself to school for only 5 days before the crash.

"When I went to school, people were saying a girl named Sarah, a girl named Sarah, and I was like 'That's not my Sarah, is it,' and it was," Farhat said, telling me she drove past the crash scene on her way to school that day.

Sarah remained on life support for six days before dying from her injuries right before her favorite holiday— Christmas.

She would have graduated this year.

"I knew I wanted to do something to commemorate her because losing her was like the hardest thing I could go through," Farhat said through tears.

Farhat told Montes she wanted to order custom bracelets in her memory for the class of 2024 to wear on graduation night.

The pink jewelry dons Sarah's full name, a heart, a butterfly, and a message of simple kindness, something Montes says she her daughter lived by.

"She stuck to it. She stuck to it, and I appreciate her so much for that because Sarah should be here," Montes said, appreciating Farhat's work to remember her daughter.

The night finally arrived bringing mixed emotions for Sarah's loved ones.

"It's bittersweet because I wanted her to be there, and these bracelets, it's in a sense her being there," Farhat said.

While she adds she'd prefer the physical Sarah, she walked the stage, wearing her bracelet, forever remembering her friend.

This moment is especially meaningful for Montes who says when she graduated, she accepted her best friend's diploma after she died, and now she's seeing her daughter's best friend do the same.

"It's like someone who loved her so much just did her graduation, and even though Sarah's not here with her, at least someone who loves her is thinking of her as she does it," Montes said after watching Farhat cross the stage.

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