Sarasota High seniors became high school graduates about an hour earlier than originally planned Friday night as school officials reset commencement ceremonies to outsmart a batch of looming wet weather.
Even starting at 7 p.m. instead of 8, Principal David Jones told the 524 seniors that the night's plan had changed, flipping the planned program to ensure diplomas would be awarded first in case rain snuck in despite their best efforts.
They didn't need to worry. On a glorious night at Cleland Stadium marked with an orange and black sunset, the graduates filed in and walked across the stage without a hitch. With diplomas in hand and seated in orange and black rows of chairs, the newly minted graduates heard from their classmates.
Lake Eastep reminded the crowd that life will deliver disappointments and failures but how each person deals with them, "that's what makes us human."
Anna Lazzara spoke of finding good people everywhere we look and working to become to be as they are.
"All of us can be just that: good people," she said.