SUNRISE, Fla. – The senior class of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School graduated Sunday in an emotional ceremony that paid to tribute to four of their classmates who were killed in a February mass shooting.
Seniors Nicholas Dworet, Joaquin Oliver, Meadow Pollack and Carmen Schentrup were among the 17 victims and received posthumous diplomas. They did not walk down the aisle at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, but their presence was felt.
Pollack's best friend, senior Carly Ogozaly, sent CNN a picture of her graduation cap. The mortar board featured a photo of Pollack and the words, "We are still in this together."
The surprise commencement speaker was "Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon who brought humor to proceedings.
"You won't be classmates anymore. You'll be adults who Facebook search each other at 2 in the morning for the next 10 years," Fallon said to laughs.
But he also had some praise for the students -- some of whom he first met the "March for Our Lives" protest in March.
"You took something horrific and instead of letting it stop you -- you started a movement. Not just here in Florida, not just in America, but throughout the whole world," Fallon said. "The whole world has heard your voice, and that was you making a choice."
The news media was not permitted inside the arena, and security was high for the ceremony. Seniors wore a special sash that read "MSD Strong" along with their caps and gowns.
Many of the family members of the victims chose not to attend, saying it was too painful.
"For me, it is too painful to celebrate without Carmen," her sister, April Schentrup, said. "But I am proud of Carmen's friends and classmates on their accomplishments. They've overcome so much. I know they will continue to make positive changes."
Others went in place of victims.
"Today is the day my sister has been waiting for. Graduation, where she would've been getting her diploma and be on her way to attend college," Pollack's brother, Hunter, said on Twitter. "This is a sad day, as I will be walking stage to get her diploma for her."
Cellphone video shot during the ceremony shows Oliver's mother, Patricia, accepting his diploma to a standing ovation. She wore a yellow T-shirt that read, "This should be my son."
Meanwhile, other graduating seniors and underclassman who became national advocates for gun control after the shooting said they plan to make a major announcement about their movement on Monday.
"Huge announcement tomorrow. We’re so excited to let the world know what we’ve been working on the past few months. Get ready! #MarchForOurLives," junior Jaclyn Corin said on Twitter.
Senior Cameron Kasky tweeted: "800 marches were just the beginning."