- Uvalde High School seniors graduated Friday in the shadow of the massacre at the elementary school.
- Graduation had been postponed for a month due to the tragic shooting.
- Gunman Salvador Ramos would have been among the graduates, but he dropped out earlier.
Moving ceremony. Nearly 300 high school seniors from Uvalde, Texas, graduated on Friday, June 24, in the shadow of one of the worst massacres in the United States in recent times, which occurred a month ago at the elementary school in the same town.
The students received their diplomas just a month after Salvador Ramos, who could have been among the graduates yesterday, shot his grandmother in the face before driving to Robb Elementary School and shot 19 children and two teachers to death, according to NBC News.
Uvalde High School students graduate in a moving ceremony
Friday’s ceremony, which had been rescheduled from its original date of May 27, marked a bittersweet milestone for the Uvalde community reeling from the tragedy that occurred four weeks ago. The pain was palpable as the community came together to celebrate the lives and accomplishments of high school seniors.
Sadness and pain clouded an otherwise joyous occasion marked by the memory of the 19 Uvalde elementary school children who will never have the opportunity to receive their diplomas or attend college. Twenty-one banners honoring the victims were displayed to the crowd as the Class of 2022 entered educational adulthood.
“Something has happened that should never have happened”
“Love the people in your life while you have them because you don’t know what the future holds for anyone,” said valedictorian Abigail Kone when delivering her speech to the graduating class. “Our community has definitely learned about the unexpected. Something that should have never happened happened. Our lives have been altered. But we still stand together as a community.”
Then Abigail Kone read the names of the victims and called the children killed at Uvalde Elementary honorary members of her graduating class. Gunman Salvador Ramos was to be among the graduates on Friday, but he dropped out earlier, NBC News reported.
Focus on healing
The shooter’s name was not mentioned at the graduation, although the deadly carnage continues to haunt that small Texas community. “If I had to pick a topic for today, it would be healing,” said Uvalde High School Principal Randall Harris. “Healing is what we all need. It is what you need. It’s what I need.»
The decision to hold the graduation a month after the mass shooting was met with mixed emotions, NBC News noted. Earlier in the day, Uvalde County Justice of the Peace Eulalio “Lalo” Diaz smiled as he discussed his daughter’s graduation and her plans to attend New York University.
The sad memory of the massacre in the Uvalde elementary school
However, his face darkened as he recalled the tragedy of May 24. “I think it’s important to show that life is going to go on. But it is going to haunt this class,” he said. And it continues to haunt Diaz, who was on duty the day of the massacre and tasked with identifying the victims and notifying their families.
He remembered the cacophony of phones ringing inside the two classrooms where the unthinkable happened. Cell phones were stuffed in pockets and backpacks, chiming for frantic loved ones on the other end hoping to find their children and spouses safe. “I have made my way. I don’t have so many nightmares anymore. I am ready for my daughter to move on.”