Under the hot May sun, seniors from Roosevelt High School lined up to receive their diplomas Friday afternoon.

Though, as what has become a theme in the area and perhaps throughout the country, Friday's commencement ceremonies looked anything but like the typical high school graduation.

Instead of addressing attendees and his fellow grads neatly seated in a formal setting, Kyle Walters spoke at Friday's ceremony as graduates and their families looked on from the Casper Events Center parking lot. Some sat in lawn chairs.

"I know this is not how you wanted to end your senior year," commencement speaker and social studies teacher Susan Griffith told the class. "However, just think of the stories you get to tell.

"We may not know the future. However, I know we will rise to the occasion and persevere."

For Walters, Friday was a "gift that was given." The Roosevelt graduate said he thought his story came to an end years ago.

But when he began attending Roosevelt High School as a sophomore, that began to change.

"I was pretty stubborn — way over the top," Walters said. "I've grown physically and mentally."

For Roosevelt Principal Shawna Trujillo, Friday's ceremony was about the end result for a group of students who had shown intense grit and determination.

No one could have known that Friday, March 13 would be the last time the Roosevelt High School Class of 2020 would be in their classrooms.

"We threw you the corona curveball," Trujillo said. "And you bounced."

Trujillo said the staff at Roosevelt High School feared that some of the students would fall off the radar after the school was closed. Faculty weren't there to urge students to stick with it.

"You proved me wrong," Trujillo said. "You proved all of us wrong. You showed that you truly have grit. "

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