Emotional sendoff for graduates at Kansas School for the Deaf

OLATHE, Kan. -- Thousands of students graduate high school this spring across the metro. On Wednesday, seven seniors at Kansas School for the Deaf received their diplomas as they prepare for the next chapter of their lives.

It was an emotional send-off for the class of 2018 as the seniors filled the auditorium one last time. More than 150 people gathered to support them and cheer on the graduating class. School administrators said there is currently 10,000 people in the deaf community across Kansas City.

FOX4 spoke to the students before the ceremony about what it meant to them reaching this milestone.

"It is graduation night so it is a big deal. My life is changing and it is just that moment when you realize you were done with school and won't be back here again," said Raul Melgar.

Several seniors also said they would likely get emotional saying goodbye to their second home.

"Well of course, this will probably be emotional. This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing and you have to think this is it," said Darby Rianne Baker.

Many parents also got emotional as they watched from the crowd, including the mother of the valedictorian.

"I don't want to cry but I am very proud of him. He is such a smart boy," said Mariluz Melgar.

Several of the students already have jobs lined up after college. Others plan to further their education in college or junior college.