KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. -- Hundreds of high school seniors in the Klamath Basin are getting ready to enter the real world. Before they cross the stage, they're celebrating with a parade, cake and free scholarships.
Nearly 500 students came out for the 'Graduation Sensation' celebration in Veterans Memorial Park Thursday. Seniors were from schools all over the county.
The parade also included bands from Henley, Klamath Union and Mazama High Schools.
Thursday's ceremony was put on by the Klamath Promise, a community group that works to improve graduation rates.
Coordinator Anne Hiller Clark said it's an incentive for students to stay on track toward graduation.
"This event helps kick off the graduation season for them, and it's a way for the community to show the students how much they value their accomplishments so it's the start of the season for them," Hiller Clark said.
Superintendent Paul Hillyer said the district is always working to improve graduation rates.
"We've been doing a lot in the area of connecting with our colleges, that's probably the bulk of our new programming to create pathways while the students are in high school," Hillyer said.
Dylan Degroot, Henley High School Senior, said there are some things he'll miss about high school.
"The people, the environment, not sure what it's going to be like outside of high school so I'm just kind of nervous for that," Degroot said.
The annual celebration also included giving out $32,000 in scholarships and gift cards to students drawn at random.
Students were able to apply for the giveaways based on what they'll be doing after high school, whether that be a two or four-year college, trade school, or the military.