Parkland Shooting Survivors Mourn Slain Classmates at Solemn Graduation

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School senior class celebrated its graduation on Sunday, nearly four months after the school shooting that resulted in the deaths of 14 students and three teachers.

On Feb. 14 former student Nikolas Cruz entered the school just before dismissal and opened fire with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle after pulling the fire alarm. He escaped in a crowd of panicking students but was arrested nearly an hour later.

Four of the victims were seniors, making the ceremony particularly bittersweet.

"There's definitely a solemn feel mixed with joy, which is weird," teacher Darren Levine told CNN.

"Today is going to be emotional," Jeffrey Foster, a teacher at the school and grand marshal of the ceremony wrote on Twitter. "Just know that I will always be there for you."

The parents of Joaquin Oliver, one of the victims, received his diploma onstage. Levine described the scene as emotional as the two received a standing ovation from the audience. Oliver's mother reportedly wore a short reading "This should be my son," as she walked onstage.

Julia Cordover, the senior class president, reportedly gave a speech encouraging classmates to vote in order to change the world. Numerous students who survived the shooting have been vocal advocates for safer gun control in the months that followed the shooting.

Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon made a surprise appearance at the event as guest speaker, wearing sash similar to many students reading "MSD Strong."

"Choose to move forward and don't let anything stop you," Fallon said during the speech. "Thank you for your courage and bravery.

"You are not just the future - you are the present. Keep changing the world. Keep making us proud," Fallon wrote on Twitter after giving his speech.


Students from the school organized the March for Our Lives event in Washington D.C. back on March 24, calling for stricter gun laws. Fallon was one of the many celebrities who attended, including Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, Miley Cyrus, Paul McCartney, George and Amal Clooney, Steven Spielberg, Ariana Grande and Lin-Manuel Miranda.