MENTOR, Ohio - Hundreds came to the Mentor Fine Arts Auditorium to be a part of the Chardon High School Class of 2012 gradutaion ceremony Saturday afternoon.
In all, 265 graduates walked up to receive their diplomas, including Joy Rickers. Rickers was allegedly shot by T.J. Lane in the Chardon High School cafeteria on February 27, 2012. Two victims survived the shooting while three, including Daniel Parmertor, Russell King Junior, and Demetrius Hewlin were killed.
"It's sad but we all have to move on for them," said Kala Day, a 2012 graduate. "They are all looking down on us so they are here with us."
Superintendent Joe Bergant told students during the ceremony to stay strong. "I hope the words I use during this difficult time help you as you continue to heal and move forward with your lives. You have touched the loves of so many in Chardon, in Ohio and the nation."
"After everything that happened I don't really want to leave," said Alexandra Jernejcic as she was heading in to the graduation with her parents by her side. "I feel like we have come so close and everyone is so much more loving. It's going to be really hard to leave."
Another student, Alexandra Ruddock is excited to be moving on with her life but the pain of the past she said will stick with her forever. "The year we had has been difficult for everyone versus other years of graduation."