After junior and senior years marred by a pandemic, natural disasters and the death of a classmate, the graduating class of Slaughter Community Charter School didn’t march across a stage but celebrated the end of their high school years Friday, May 14, in the bleachers of the football field.

Despite COVID restrictions that limited each graduate to 10 pre-seated guests, few chairs were empty and few eyes were dry.

In September 2020, Demetrius Orlando "D.J." Robertson Jr. died in a crash in Clinton. At the graduation ceremony, classmates talked about their friend, and his parents presented the first of an ongoing scholarship to a student-athlete in his name. He was a baseball and football player.

Members of the baseball team were missing from the ceremony as the team played in the school’s first state semifinals. The team lost to Oak Grove, 16-1.

The class included Daniel Roan, who was adopted from a Ugandan orphanage when he was 5. As a young child, he and his older brother, Christian Roan, have accompanied the family to several mission sites including South and Central America, Africa and the United Kingdom. In acknowledging his scholarship to Oral Roberts University, he asked his school counselor to note the role his parents play in his achievements.

The keynote speech was given by Clint Ebey, education program consultant with the Louisiana Department of Education, and a former SCCS staff member.