The Class of 2016 at Edge High School is very small. But, their stories of perseverance are larger than life.
The Tucson charter school serves at-risk students through smaller classroom sizes. The goal is to give them the individualized attention that will keep them focused.
The school was so inspiring, that it caught the attention of KGUN9's parent company - E.W. Scripps who awarded the school $1,250; some of that money was used to decorate the stage of the Tucson Convention Center, where their graduation was held on Wednesday.
The ceremony was wired on emotions, as many students told KGUN9, they never thought they would see this moment.
"It's still not real. I don't think its fully set in," said Zoe Martinez-Lane. "I think I'm going to get home later and like cry my eyes out and be like, 'Oh my god - I did it. Did this really happen?'"
The proof is in the paper for Zoe. Her high school diploma from Edge High School took her six years to get ahold of.
"I took a year off to help take care of my mother and you know there was some other family stuff," Zoe explained.
Her mother ended up beating the breast cancer that took her daughter away from school. But, it was also the challenges of public school that crippled Zoe's focus.
"I was the type to ditch school to be honest," Zoe admitted "I wasn't into it because I just couldn't do it. Like, I didn't have the personally in-depth attention that I needed educationally."
However, when Zoe found Edge High School, she explained that she found a place that could balance emotion and education in a welcoming environment.
"All the obstacles in their life; all the challenges they've faced inside and outside of school - they have persevered," said Principal Rob Pecharich. "They've learned to fight through and they've learned how to believe in themselves."
Pecharich said, since the school started in 1995, they have graduated about 1,000 people through their programs.
On Wednesday, the stage was covered in celebratory balloons and decorations bought with the help of the E.W. Scripps scholarship. The award was given to this school for showing students that dedication can turn their dreams into a diploma.