Many of New Horizons High Schools Class of 2013 have had hardships beyond what the adults who gathered to watch them graduate will ever experience, said Brian Leavitt, interim principal.
But the 25 Pasco students persevered to walk up the aisle, arm in arm, boys in blue robes and girls in white, at Columbia Basin Colleges Byron Gjerde Center.
They smiled as they watched a slide show of the high points and happy times they shared, accompanied by the song Today My Life Begins.
When I first came to New Horizons I was a completely different person, said valedictorian Tyler Mursch.
He didnt plan to get involved, just get done with high school, he said.
But those at the school changed his thinking. They helped him want to be part of the group, he said.
Thats the greatest gift high school has given me, he said.
All the students graduating were at the school for a second chance and all are different people than when they arrived, he said.
And they will continue to succeed, he predicted.
They have left New Horizons High School a better place than they found it, Leavitt agreed.