FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) — Graduation is an unforgettable moment for many high schoolers.
Natalie Wright says a masked and socially distanced ceremony won’t change that.
"Nothing’s going to ruin the perfect day," Wright said. "This is my perfect day."
A much deserved celebration for the thousands of Fort Wayne Community Schools students, like Malik Smith, graduating this week after a COVID-altered Junior and Senior year.
"It’s really exciting, you know," Smith said. "It’s been a long 13 years, tough year for me personally and a lot of people, you know, COVID-19. But to get through that, to fight through adversity and get through it, it’s a big change in my life, entering a new chapter in my life."
This past year has put strain on pretty much all graduates, though for some, they questioned if they’d be able to walk across the stage on Saturday at all.
"Recently I had went to the hospital. So I was a little bit scared," said Darrail Hill. "I was hoping I could hurry and get back to high school and make sure I don’t have no missing assignments or nothing, but yeah, it’s been really good."
Hill says his hospital visit was COVID-related, but his family and teachers got him through the year.
Alyssa Earls’ struggles came even more recently. She’s using her graduation walk to honor a loved one.
"Matthew was my little brother. He passed away Monday. He was 14," Earls said. "And I’m just glad that I got up and did it because I wasn’t going to, but I’m glad I did for him."
As for the future, Earls and Wright say they’re going to live in the moment today, and see where the future takes them.
"Day by day, that’s all we gotta do," Earls said. "Take it step by step," said Wright.
North Side, Northrop and Snider students graduated Saturday, while South Side and Wayne held ceremonies earlier in the week.