Cougar pride returns to the gymnasium at Mclean County High School.
A December storm nearly destroyed the gym. Graduates get their gym back just in time for tonight's commencement. Some seniors say the gym homecoming, sent them off the right way.
Over the last couple of months crews have worked relentlessly to get the gym back to normal. Many graduates say receiving their diplomas someplace else, wouldn't have been the same. The cougars have resorted to other locations for their school events, but tonight they get to be at home.
The Mclean County Cougars return home, just in time to say goodbye. "This is our home school, and I just really wanted to graduate here," says senior Draven Emery.
Around ninety graduates take a seat inside their high school's gymnasium, months after a storm nearly destroyed it. "We had a swimming pool inside of our gym. I saw a lot of videos of it, and it was just setting water. I'm really glad they got it done so we can walk on our own floor," says Emery.
For about five months school events had to be moved to other locations, even other high schools like Apollo High School in Owensboro, Kentucky. "It's really special. I didn't want to graduate at Apollo or anywhere else," says Katie Miller. "I didn't get to cheer my senior year on that floor after it got messed up, so to be able to graduate on that floor, is something I'm excited about," says Brittany Reynolds.
The storm struck one weekend in December, leaving a lasting impact. Repairs were made to the roof, and a new gym floor was installed. This graduation is one of the first events back inside the cougar gymnasium. "Thanks for getting it done. I'm proud of them," says Emery.
This senior's mother says she's just as thankful. "Since I graduated here in eighty-eight, they've always held the graduation in the gym." Parent, Pam Rector, says graduating in this gym has become a family tradition. "It would've been pretty disappointing. It wouldn't have been the same," says Rector.
The storm ripped away parts of the gym, but the cougar pride stayed strong. The graduates of Mclean County High School didn't have a dark cloud in sight today. "It's pretty special."