ERIE, Pa. -- More than 100 Strong Vincent seniors conquered their schooling and received their diplomas.
The final commencement ceremony for the high school was held at Bayfront Convention Center Tuesday evening.
District administrators, faculty and students described the occasion as bittersweet.
"It's like everything is going so fast. I'm sad. I'm happy. It's the last class of 2017," said class president Jamil Grandberry.
After a storied history spanning nearly nine decades, and a basketball team that inspired a city, the Class of 2017 became the high school’s last; but students are left with fond memories.
"Just the hype from the seniors, the enthusiasm from the games we played," said Grandberry.
The Erie School District’s reorganization plans will result in the consolidation of Strong Vincent, Central Tech and East high schools.
"Like I don't even have an option to send my kids here,” said graduate Diara Magee. “It's just going to be one big, huge hospital. You're not going to get a chance to know everyone as personally as we did."
Hundreds showed up to support the Class of 2017. They said Strong Vincent will continue, the Colonels will merely be younger.
"It's bittersweet,” said Maria Peavy, who watched her son graduate. “They're going to go on. They're not closing. It's going to be a middle school, but no more high school. So, I'm glad my son got to finish off at Strong Vincent this year."
Peavy’s son, Delvon Peavy, said "I feel it's going to be for the better. It's going to be good. Like I said, 'I'm hoping for the best.'"
Strong Vincent High School will become Strong Vincent Middle School before the 2017-18 school year.
High school students will transfer to Erie High School, which is at the current site of Central Tech High School.
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