Eric Leighton's family is still waiting for answers a year after his death in a shop class explosion.

Dozens marked the one-year anniversary of the 18-year-old Mother Teresa High School student's death at a memorial on Saturday, including his parents Sheri and Patrick.

"He's not there and I guess I'm hoping one of the days I wake up that he would be, and this would be just an awful nightmare that we've all been going through," said Sheri Leighton.

"I don't like to say move on, because nobody's ever going to move on from his passing," said his sister Kaitlyn. "But we can move forward from it."

Eric was building a barbeque in shop class on May 26, 2011 when the metal drum he was cutting exploded.

The Ottawa Catholic School Board is facing non-criminal charges for not properly supervising the project or cleaning the barrel.

The Leighton family said they're frustrated with the lack of answers.

"We haven't heard from anybody. We still don't know what happened that day at all," said Patrick Leighton.

Leighton's school has since banned all welding.

While they wait for the results of that trial, Eric's family and friends said they're drawing strength from their memories.

"He was always there for you and always on your side," said his friend Mike Milito, wearing purple in his memory. "Even if he knew you were wrong, he's try and stick up for you."

"As odd as it sounds, it's his hands," said Sheri Leighton. "His hands were everything; it said everything about him - his strength, his kindness, his patience, that's what I think I miss the most."

With a report from CTV Ottawa's Claudia Cautillo