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Following tragedy, Reynolds 2014 graduates celebrate their big night

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - Emilio Hoffman's brother Joshua Mitchell wore Emilio's soccer jersey over his graduation gown. All the graduates wore a small red ribbon in memory of Emilio.

Celebrate and enjoy yourselves enthusiastically and loudly, because “this is your night,” Reynolds High School Principal Wade Bakley told Reynolds High School’s class of 2014 at Thursday night’s graduation ceremony.

And cheer they did, despite the shadow that has hung over the school and community in the wake of Tuesday morning’s tragic shootings at Reynolds High.

There was a moment of silence for Reynolds freshman Emilio Hoffman, who died Tuesday morning when fellow freshman Jared Padgett shot him and then wounded PE teacher Todd Rispler before turning the gun on himself.

Each graduate wore a small red ribbon in Emilio’s memory. Normally seniors aren’t allowed to wear ornamentation during graduation, one teacher remarked.

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - Reynolds High School teacher Todd Rispler was cheered when he walked onto the floor at the beginning of graduation. On the morning of the shooting, Rispler, grazed by a bullet on his hip, made his way to the office, where he was able to notify the administration, which then initiated an immediate lockdown probably saving many lives.

Later in the evening, the crowd erupted in cheers when graduating senior Joshua D. Mitchell, Emilio’s older brother, walked onto the stage at Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Joshua was wearing Emilio’s soccer jersey over his graduation gown and was carrying a picture of Emilio, which he raised high above his head. At the front of the stage, Joshua turned around to show the audience the back of the jersey — No. 29. Everyone gave him a standing ovation.

The crowd also cheered when Rispler, who had raised the alarm about the shooter despite being wounded, walked out onto the floor with the other teachers.

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - After receiving his diploma, Joshua Mitchell turns his back to the crowd and displays the number on Emilios jersey, which he wore over his graduation gown. The entire audience and graduating class rose to their feet and roared.

Grazed by a bullet on his hip, Rispler had made his way to the office, where he was able to notify the administration, which then initiated an immediate lockdown, probably saving many lives.

For more graduation photos, see the Tuesday, June 17, issue of The Outlook.