ST. LOUIS COUNTY - "Here we come, this is the moment," were the words that may have defined the 2014 graduating class of Normandy High School. The boy who sang them a capella felt them to his core.
"Tonight is the night, we'll fight 'til it's over, so we put our hands up like the ceiling can't hold us,' he sang.
Christian Wallace and the 119 other graduates got to this night with heart and with a fierce spirit. They had something to prove to all the people who judged them by their failing school district. They needed to prove, those people were wrong.
Normandy is unaccredited. It stops existing at the end of June. The state department of education is dissolving it. It didn't matter on this night.
"Graduation day I woke up this morning and couldn't do nothing but smile," said Wallace. The hours and second before the night of their lives came after the days and months of struggle.
"They might be the last class of Normandy School District, but they won't be the last Normandy graduating class," said Superintendent Dr. Ty McNichol.
The grads learned lessons in the last year they'll never find in textbooks.
"This year hasn't just been a year of me getting my education it's been a fight, and I've won," said Wallace.
Not knowing whether they'd be able to graduate together was stressful but Wallace found solace in the company of choir. They became his family through the dark days of uncertainty and the illuminating days of success. They were able to go to New York together to perform at Carnegie Hall, one of only 60 choirs in the country chosen for the honor. They dream just like other children of their futures as they picked up their diplomas from their unaccredited district.
"Here we go. Tonight is the night, we fight till it's over, like the ceiling can't hold us," sang Wallace.
They left graduation knowing nothing can really hold them back. They'd been there, done that, and fought to see the night that propels them to the next chapter of their lives.