There were many smiles, tears of joy, clear skies and sunshine as Manatee High was finally able to graduate its 2013 class of seniors at 9 a.m. Sunday on Joe Kinnan Field at Hawkins Stadium.
The original ceremony was scheduled for 8 p.m. Saturday but it was delayed due to rain.
First-year Principal Don Sauer, who had to deliver the postponement news Saturday, was elated to graduate his first class of high school seniors, who wore red white or blue caps and gowns.
He said he was most proud of the amount of community service the students had done over four years in high school.
"We had so many different accomplishments for our class but the one thing I was really proud of was the 64,000 community service hours,” he said. “Because what they’ve done is they’ve laid the foundation to give back for the rest of their lives.”
Some students and family members could not attend the delayed graduation Sunday but he said he had to think of what was best for everyone.
“I was going to wait a little bit longer before we called it but just looking at the radar it was just going to keep coming until ten or 11,” said Sauer. “I’m just crushed that I knew I had family and friends that had to leave early this morning and a couple of graduates.”
Newly minted Manatee High School graduate Lindsey Colaco had relatives who had to leave Sunday morning. Her mother, Susan Colaco, was sad they could not stay, but the graduating moment overshadowed the rain delay.
“We had family that left, but we’ll make the best of it,” said Colaco.