Lancaster High – 'I want everybody to know that you can make it'

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By Jesef Williams

Tears streaked down Pearlene Dinkins' face as she watched her granddaughter, Sekia Davis, march off the field as "Pomp and Circumstance" played.

Dinkins, like many others Friday night, was simply proud to see a family member finish high school. Davis was one of 301 Lancaster High School students to receive a diploma this year.

"I feel so good to see her get through this year," Dinkins said. "It's a blessing."

The ceremony was also emotional for Dani Strang.

For a while, the graduating senior couldn't stop crying.

After receiving several kisses from family, she spoke about the many obstacles, including drug use, that she thought would have prevented her from seeing this day. At one point, she wanted to quit.

"I didn't think it was going to happen," said Strang, who pointed to her uncle, Craig Bomba, as a big reason for her tears.

Bomba and Strang used to live together, but the two hadn't seen each other in five or six years.

Bomba made it all the way from New York – and encountered airline problems along the way – to be a part of this special family moment.

But Bomba said he was determined to see his niece graduate high school.

"It means the world to me," a teary-eyed Bomba said. "I would have walked here."

And while many graduates removed their caps and gowns after the ceremony, James Black kept his on – even after his family had left the stadium.

The moment was special for Black, as he became the first person in his family to graduate high school on time. He considers that a big accomplishment. Now he plans to attend the Institute of Technology, where he'll study computer science.

"I want everybody to know that you can make it," Black said. "If I can do it, anybody can do it."