The crowd was electric at the graduation ceremony at Decatur High School last Friday. Parents, siblings, friends and extended family members of the 2013 graduates were packed like sardines on the bleachers of the football stadium. Although a request was made to the audience to stay seated and refrain from shouting out until all the graduate’s names were called, folks could not contain their elation and jumped out of their seats with pure joy when their loved ones marched across the stage. As I have reflected upon this night, I can understand why the emotions were so charged. Decatur High is a Title I school meaning that they receive additional funds to meet the needs of at-risk and low-income students. Decatur High, a school for white students up until the end of Jim Crow segregation, is proud of its diversity and can boast a 90% four-year graduation rate. In 2012, 87% of the graduates attended four-year colleges. For all of us in attendance, this night was a reminder of how far we have come as a society in accepting those with differences but also a testament to what happens when dedicated, hard-working teachers set high expectations for all students coupled with the support of parents and community. I speak from the heart because my daughter, Christine, who has a disability, was one of the at-risk students who graduated that night.