IBERIA PARISH, La. (KLFY) An Acadiana teacher and school board member who was scheduled to graduate with a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership died hours before her scheduled ceremonies.

Kristi Hebert, a teacher at Jefferson Island Road Elementary in New Iberia and a member of the Vermilion Parish School Board, died in two vehicle car crash late Friday on Hwy. 14 in Iberia Parish.

She recently completed her online master’s degree and was scheduled to receive her diploma Saturday during graduation ceremonies at the University of Louisiana at Monroe.

Graduate Abbie Cates said when she learned the news of Hebert’s passing, her heart fell to the ground.

“She was such a great person, an inspiration to us all. She worked hard. My heart goes out to her family and friends.”

As the ULM Class of 2021 filed into their seats to the tune of “Pomp and Circumstance,” Hebert’s classmates honored her memory by placing six peach roses in her chair at the graduation ceremony.

“I walked out first and carried the roses in front of me,” Cates said.

“Through that symbolism, she led us to our seats and I placed the roses in the chair she would have sat in and they stayed there throughout the ceremony. Kristy will forever be a part of the Warhawk family.”

School administrators at Jefferson Island Road Elementary have announced that grief counselors will be on campus to assist students and staff.