South Cameron High School Holds Special Graduation

May 19, 2007
Reported By: Lee Peck

Walking in to "Pomp and Circumstance," the 2007 South Cameron High School class is proof that the hurricane ravaged community is recovering.

"Today is a special day for South Cameron High School. This is our first graduation ceremony in the new gym. It was completed about three days ahead of graduation," said SCHS Principal Zeke Wainwright.

Hurricane Rita demolished their school and most of their homes disrupting their junior year. "We had a lot of people that moved schools because of the hurricane. Not everybody has come back," said Jillian Duddleston.

But for these 56 seniors, most of whom started kindergarten together, graduating from another school was not an option. "This is where we came to school and this is where we grew up. It just was a major deal to have our graduation in this gym," said Amanda Hackler.

"I'm happy to be home and in this gym. Everything just went great," said Jacob Trahan.

As family and friends share their special moment, everyone reflects on the overwhelming circumstances they have overcome... from temporarily sharing schools to making their return to South Cameron.

"Going to a new school was hard because we had to meet new people and try to fit in there," said Tyrell Harmon.

"Coming home to the portable buildings was hard and looking everyday at the school being torn down and just realizing everything is gone," said Hackler.

While Rita may have physically torn their class apart, emotionally she brought them closer together.

"While we were gone. The only thing that we had was our friendship and our class stayed together, most of us did because it was the only thing we had left and we cherished it," said Duddleston.

"Everybody came together... And we all helped each other out. If somebody needed a ride somewhere, if somebody needed a little extra money. If somebody needed a hug, we gave them a hug," said Trahan.

There were lots of hugs Saturday as a budding community shares in their joy.

"We're here and we made it," said Hackler.

"It's very touching, it's very moving. And I'm really glad everything went perfect today," said Trahan.

"Feels good back at home," said Harmon.

This year's class had five valedictorians and three salutatorians. At the start of next school year, Principal Wainwright says they are working to be functioning at pre-Rita status, including a new football field.