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Arkansas high school graduations return to traditional ceremonies

Last year, seniors couldn't walk across the stage because of COVID-19, but this year students are once again celebrating together.

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — Graduation season is here and it's looking more normal this year.

It's an exciting time for seniors, especially since they can have the graduation they've dreamed of with family and friends together.

700 students are getting their diplomas at Cabot High School. Valedictorian Natalie Stocks didn't think she would ever get to this point.

Her mom died when she was in the 8th grade, and Natalie didn't want to work hard in school anymore.

But as a testament to her mom and herself, she is now graduating at the top of her class.

"All my family members say she'd be so proud and I really think she would," said Stocks.

"We do have outstanding graduates," said Superintendent Dr. Tony Thurman.

"The thing about a graduation ceremony is this is much for the parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends and neighbors that pull these kids through," said Dr. Thurman.

Arkansas Charter High students also celebrated as they got their diplomas.

"I'm actually excited to be walking across the stage because I stopped going to school at a point in time and then I got back in it," said senior Jasmine Robinson.

Another senior, Brian Brown didn't care where his graduation was as long as his family could see it.

"What makes it more exciting for me is my grandma gets to sit here and watch it," said Brown.

And with great accomplishments come proud teachers.

"We're just really proud of this group," said teacher Jason Watt. 

"With COVID it's been a weird year for everybody, but to have this many graduates walk across the stage today is a huge deal for them and a huge deal for us," said Watt.