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East St. Louis graduation runs smoothly following increased security

EAST ST. LOUIS - It’s the moment every high school student anticipates – Graduation.

331 East St. Louis high school seniors filed into Clyde C. Jordan stadium for their moment to walk the stage.

“The statistics, the naysayers,” valedictorian Montez Holton said about his struggles. “The daily life challenges, just being able to overcome those and get to this day is a really proud moment for me and my classmates.”

The recent violence and anticipation for the graduation came with some extra security precautions.

Superintendent Arthur Culver brought in Illinois State Police and St. Clair County sheriff deputies to assist East St. Louis police with safety.

All guest had to go through metal detectors before being able to grab a seat.

“With the amount of violence that’s been going on lately, it’s very important, I don’t mind the lines as long as it’s for our safety,” guest LaDonna Liddel said.

Officers stood guard high and low making sure graduates like valedictorian Montez Holton got the chance to enjoy their moment in peace.

Holton will be earning his diploma and associates degree at the same time.

He tells me he didn’t want anything to ruin his time in the spotlight.

“I have to really give praise to the district and the school for thinking of our safety and making sure that we are safe during graduation and we have a good commencement,” Holton said.

The added security measures increased the amount of time to get inside.

Family and friends, I spoke with say if that extra minute means their safety, there is no reason to complain.

“I don’t mind the line being long, it’s for our safety so,” Shamita Seawood said.