Family receives son's posthumous college degree

Posted at 8:13 PM, May 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-19 20:13:32-04
This weekend's Preakness will be a grim reminder for one family after their son was killed two years ago before he could use his tickets. A drunk driver hit him as he crossed the street. Now, his parents are receiving a special honor in his name.
David and Vicki Gabriel remember their son, Matthew Gabriel, fondly. He was a sophomore from Texas at Goucher College who made friends easily.
"It's been a journey," Vicki Gabriel said. "One of the last things we bought was a Catan game. I said, 'What are you going to do with this game?' He said, 'I'm going to make friends.'" 
And that was how he lived, his parents said, all the way through his death. Matthew was killed after he was hit by a drunk driver as he crossed Dulaney Valley Rd. Police later caught that driver, but Matthew was already gone.
That was April 2014. They've returned many times since to the embrace of their son's lacrosse team. Many of the boys he played with are now seniors.
"We've walked these last two years with this Goucher community," Vicki Gabriel said.
And they now find themselves back again. Friday is graduation day at the school. The Gabriels will walk the stage with many of their son's former classmates, and as they do, they will receive the degree he could not finish.
"I will experience love," Vicki Gabriel said. "I will experience joy in the present moment, because that's what my son would have experienced." 
As they travel back to Texas, they plan to finally clear out their son's old room, which they say is fitting because he planned to move out of his childhood home right after graduation.
Matthew's memories will live on at Goucher through a scholarship that was created in his name. 
"A journey that started four years ago that has allowed us to be here today," said Vicki Gabriel. "[It's] allowed us to truly experience four years of Goucher."