PARADISE (CBS13) — From destruction to diplomas. It’s been an emotional school year for seniors at Paradise High School.

After everything they endured, they graduated.

On Thursday night, students and families descended on the Paradise High School campus that was left empty since the Camp Fire tore through town.

Set against the green grass of the Paradise High School football field, the “Pomp and Circumstance” graduation anthem also served as the “Paradise Strong” soundtrack.

READ ALSO: From Fire And Ash To Caps, Gowns: Graduation In Burned Town

Keara Reagan was one of the hundreds of Paradise High School seniors receiving a diploma.

“It’s really good to see everyone together again,” Reagan said.

Timmy Haines is another.

Swipe through pictures from the graduation

“It’s a special thing,” Haines said. “I lost everything.”

Haines wrote “trust your struggle” on his cap, as a message for everyone watching to read.

“I realized that I’ve been through a lot, but I can better myself, even though it’s a very big thing that happened,” Haines said.

A total of 220 grads and their families returned to campus for this milestone day. Even after the Camp Fire forced moves, miles away.

Some students finished classes in Chico, others chose online courses, in locations where they finally found homes.

READ: Vacaville Firefighters Raise $45K To Help Rebuild Elementary School In Paradise

“They all wanted to graduate here and they’re all here today,” parent Laurie Wolff said. “So we get to see a lot of people we haven’t seen.”

On this night – they came back together once again for their graduation ceremony.

“It’s important for me and my family,” Reagan said.

This classes’s greatest lesson seared into their understanding of the world.

“It teaches you that you have to work for what you want in life,” Haines said, “and if you lose everything you have to work for it again.”

Facing uncertainty, these Paradise graduates will always know the power of perseverance.


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