See also: Photos and the full list of graduates
COLUMBIA — A boisterous and supportive crowd cheered and wildly clapped as students from Douglass High School’s class of 2010 received their diplomas Friday night.
“Everyone in this class has a story to tell and the end of the story is we made it to graduation,” Marquette Wallace said in her commencement speech.
Douglass High School offers an alternative education to high school students who thrive off of nontraditional learning techniques.
Forty-three students graduated at the ceremony, which took place in Launer Auditorium at Columbia College.
The ceremony included a memorial in honor of J. McKenzie Cave, a student who died in February.
Each student was congratulated with hugs from staff members as they exited the stage.
“I’m very proud of her,” Elke Boyd said about her daughter’s achievements. “It’s kind of like the first day of school. It has the same feeling.”
Iesha Fletcher, 18, along with classmates China Collins, 17, and Tanner Cassil, 19, were showered with awards and scholarships. Cassil was the recipient of the Perfect Attendance Award after attending school every day for the past two-and-a-half years, according to Julie Coleman Schnucks, who presented the award. .
Both Fletcher and Collins plan to attend Moberly Area Community College to work toward associate degrees as registered nurses.
“I plan on putting my scholarship money toward my tuition,” Collins said.
“They helped us fill out FAFSA, gave us direction, showed us how to enroll in college and how to fill out scholarships,” Fletcher said about the staff at Douglass.
Each graduate is required to complete a portfolio, according to principal Brian Gaub. Each packet includes an interest inventory and resume. It must also include evidence of two college visits, a mock interview, volunteer work and work experience. Lastly, the students must write a paper on their experiences.
“The portfolio is designed so each student should have at least one plan for what they want to do,” Gaub said.
Wallace and Heather Piatt were the keynote speakers. Piatt finished her speech with a quote from Green Day’s “Time of Your Life,” cheered and threw her hands up in true rock-and-roll style. The students’ enthusiasm was apparent in all aspects of the ceremony.