190524 Florence High Graduation 30

Students walk from the Florence Middle School to Braly Stadium for graduation. [MATT MCKEAN/TIMESDAILY]

FLORENCE — Florence High School's 319 graduates who participated in Friday's commencement had a goal in mind of graduating in Braly Stadium.

They got their wish for the 7 p.m. ceremony, plus the added benefit of a picturesque sunset.

"The goal has been to bring back the tradition of the stadium graduation since 2007 when it moved to Flowers Hall (on the University of North Alabama campus)," said Florence High School Principal Rod Sheppard. "The students were a little more excited until they had to practice in the heat. Still, they were thrilled to not be limited to six guest tickets."

The 2019 Florence graduates earned $11.6 million in scholarships with one National Merit finalist and three other students receiving National Merit Corporation scholarships. There is also an appointment to the Air Force Academy in this year's graduating class.

Sheppard said this year's class is a studious group that was also comprised of trailblazers.

"This is the class that took us into 7A athletics when some said we shouldn't be there," Sheppard said. "These student-athletes made the playoffs in several sports, even semifinals, so I'd say they met the challenge."

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