Joplin celebrates class of 2016

Posted at 4:16 PM, May 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-23 10:05:42-04

Family and friends of the 446 graduating Joplin High School seniors gave them a standing ovation as they walked into the gymnasium.

For a moment, it was pure joy.

Then, for many, the ceremony was a reminder of the last time life felt normal.

"It was really stressful the first couple years," said graduate Chandler McGrane. "It was a lot.”

As her town worked to recover from the 2011 Joplin tornado, McGrane attended high school in three different buildings.

Her home was damaged. She knew people who were hurt.

“I think once I started high school, I didn't want the tornado to affect what I was doing. So as I started school, I just wanted to do the best that I could," she said.

That includes getting her associate's degree before even completing her senior year.

Kerry Sachetta led Joplin High through the last five trying years.

He describes the class of 2016 as resilient, flexible and strong.

"These kids have been through a lot. They were seventh graders, had just finished their seventh grade year, when this happened to them," Sachetta said.

Thought McGrane's high school experience was anything but typical, she believes it only made her more determined.

She said she wouldn't change a thing.

"The tornado was hard. It was rough. but I love our school and I love living here," she said. "We're all trying our best to just get past it, and do better.”


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