Posted By: Alden German

Summer school is not something high school students want to do, but on July 11th you would have seen a lot of smiles and hugs. Lincoln North Star is the home of summer classes for Lincoln Public Schools, and for over 130 students, high school is over.

"I feel great. I feel like I've ended a new chapter and it's very nice to be able to think about the future and it's nice to know that I can always go on to do more if I want to," said Rebecca Bilew, a graduate of Lincoln High School.

It's a happy sentiment shared by many.

"Pretty amazing considering that it's been, oh, so many years," said Jasha Graham, a graduate of Lincoln Southwest.

It was not a normal graduation. There was no formal ceremony, no speeches, and no band. Instead, families came to North Star, grabbed a robe, and surprised their children by announcing that they had officially graduated high school.

For the students, they're proud of their accomplishments.

"Obviously it's not easy with everybody being here and just all the problems that comes with it but we pushed through it and we're here. We made it, we're happy," said Graham.

The students also look forward to their futures and entering a new chapter in their adult lives.

"I feel like I've been a child my entire life, so now that I'm finally graduated I feel like I'm entering adulthood," said Bilew.

As for future and even current high schoolers, they have advice.

"Be involved. Be experienced with all your school. Be yourself," said Lincoln Northeast graduate Michael Rodriguez.

The students are glad to have their diplomas and shared their favorite things about high school.

"Probably playing soccer at Northeast," said Rodriguez.

Bilew’s favorite event at high school wasn’t athletic, but she still thoroughly enjoyed it.

"I would definitely say African American Caucus at Lincoln High. It was pretty lit,” said Bilew.

For some, however, it’s the people they will miss the most.

"The teachers and counselors. The fact that they were able to help me even though I kind of struggled a lot,” said Yuritzy Musito, a graduate of Lincoln Northeast.

The students wanted to thank their parents, teachers, and everyone who supported them.

"It's just the teachers, when they're supportive and they support you and what you're doing and just get you to that goal that you're looking for,” said Graham.