Students graduate from Texas school where shooting killed 10

2018-06-02 12:49

In the sweltering twilight on their school's football field, 328 seniors at a Southeast Texas high school received their diplomas on Friday with memories of a deadly mass shooting fresh in their minds.

The Santa Fe High School seniors gathered in the 83-degree heat and 76% humidity on the artificial-turf field to become the school's first to graduate since two substitute teachers and eight fellow students died in a mass shooting May 18. A 17-year-old student identified as the shooter is being held on capital murder charges.

The graduating seniors, wearing white stoles in tribute to those slain, and their well-wishers viewed a montage tribute to the slain students and teachers on the stadium's video display board. "The events of May 18" referred to speeches by school principal Rachel Blundell, valedictorian Corrigan Garcia and salutatorian Bailee Dobson referred to "the events of May 18".

But Blundell reassured the seniors that surviving such a trial equips them with the strength and courage to cope with the challenges that will come later in life. "Great leaders and great nations have emerged out of the ashes of some of the greatest tragedies," she said.

Garcia told his classmates that the shared experience only brought them closer and brought them the strength that unity brings. "We've made it through the worst of it," he said in his valedictory speech. But he said that another foe confronted the graduates, the emotions of trauma and loss that could be overwhelming.

"Moving on will be tough. Nothing will ever be the same for any of us. But we all have a choice to make," he said.

"It's been a bit of a wild ride," Dobson said in her speech. "This year has been one of the most bizarre and life-changing years that we've had so far. First we had (Hurricane) Harvey, then we had snow, and most recently we had the tragic events of May 18th that happened in our very school."

But she said her classmates had remained strong "through all the challenges that life has thrown at us".

The ceremony came a day after President Donald Trump met privately with families of the victims and others near Houston.

Read more on:    us  |  us shootings

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.