PARADISE, Calif. - The graduation festivities began bright and early for Paradise High School seniors and staff on Thursday.
Faculty told Action News Now that the ceremony is not about the fire or the tragedy that's happened, but about the student's accomplishments.
Michelle John, superintendent of Paradise Unified School District, said it has taken a team effort to get to this point.
"This is not at all over," John said. "We will have years of this but for this year's senior class, there's closure."
Senior Matthew Singler grew up playing soccer in Paradise with his friends Gabe and Jacob.
"We have worked hard for four years to get through this," he said.
All three of them head off to college in just a few weeks.
"I'm really excited to see what we do and what we become as people," Singler said. "Good luck to everybody. We are all going to our separate directions. Who knows what life will throw at us. But we are all prepared and we will get through it."
Thursday night's commencement will be a symbolic move not just for the students, but for the entire town of Paradise.
"To be able to come back to our home field and celebrate a milestone like graduation shows the resilience of our students and their families," John said.
Stay with Action News Now for full coverage of the graduation.