COLUMBIA — Twenty-two seniors crossed the stage Saturday morning to become the 17th graduating class of Douglass High School.
As the names of the graduates were read aloud during the ceremony, cheers from family and friends filled Launer Auditorium at Columbia College.
Speaking about the value of teamwork, Antoine Harris, who presented the senior address, created an acronym for the word "TEAM" — truth, effort, attitude and maturity.
Harris said one of the best things about attending Douglass was being taught by Howard Clark, who was an inspiration to him.
"Mr. Clark made me believe anything is possible," he said.
Before leaving the podium after his speech, Harris pointed his mother and said, "Mama, I made it."
Jenniva Thompson performed her rendition of the Kelly Clarkson song "Breakaway," providing her fellow graduates with inspiring words.
Harris and Thompson were selected because they showed interest in being involved in the ceremony rather than being chosen by a class vote or grade point average calculation, Douglass principal Brian Gaub said.
Before receiving their diplomas, a number of students were awarded scholarships from local and national organizations, including the Missouri Heart Institute, the Columbia Art League and the Boone County Bar Association.
With diplomas in hand, the new graduates hugged teachers and took pictures with their family and friends.
"This class may be small, but they're special," Gaub said.