PUEBLO, Colo. - As more than 400 graduates entered the Southwest Motors Event Center in Pueblo, they were welcomed with cheers from their families.
A handful of these students are still in high school and receiving their associate's degrees before their high school diploma.
A special commencements speaker took the stage before the degrees were handed out. Pueblo native Kelsey Martinez, the first woman to be a strength and conditioning coach in the NFL. She talked about her journey. How she overcame long odds and encouraged these grads to do the same.
"Since college, I have entered a male-dominated field." Martinez said, "The thought of it was a little intimidating. But I trusted in myself so much that I was able to perform my best and show my potential. I knew my purpose and it didn't matter that I was the only female in the room."
Then the names were read. Each graduate taking in the moment as they walked across the stage.
After everyone received their degree, they went and took pictures with their family and friends. Some will start their careers as soon as Monday. Others still pursuing education. But the ones we spoke to say they now feel more prepared to tackle the real world.