By Shawn Chitnis

CASTLE ROCK, Colo. (CBS4) – Students sat at their graduation ceremony surrounded by snow Tuesday as family, friends, and school staff shivered in the cold weather. Something they were not expecting for commencement.

“It feels pretty good, feels pretty good to know we’re finally done but it’s cold outside though,” said Christopher Diaz, a graduating senior. “That’s the problem.”

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Dressed in purple caps and gowns, they popped in a field of white at Douglas County High School. Their parents and other loved ones wrapped in blankets in the stands. The crowd looked like fans of a winter football home game more than a spring graduation. 

The ceremony was moved back from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. to give time for conditions to warm up. Diaz and other students benefited from the change. 

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“It worked out pretty well for me because I’m a part of IB so I had testing at 6:30 in the morning,” he said. 

While all seniors wore their cap and gown, they all had different strategies to stay warm underneath. 

“I’ve got sweat pants underneath my sweat pants, and I got a a thermal shirt on so, two pairs of socks,” Diaz said.  “So I think I’m faring better than most people.”

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But some students chose to dress up as if it were a more typical spring day for Colorado, at least for late May. 

“I just feel bad for the people wearing dresses and shorts though, they’re not faring so well,” he said. 

Diaz knew those seniors were not the only ones struggling in the cold. His family also was not prepared for these conditions. 

“My grandparents flew out from Puerto Rico so they’re obviously not used to this weather,” he said. “Especially not in May.”

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Graduation is often a day to remember for high school seniors but the snow made it one the Class of 2019 will likely never forget. 

“I think it makes it more memorable,” Diaz said. “It’s already a memorable experience, but this helps.”

Ponderosa High School was set to have its ceremony at 10 a.m. at Echo Park Stadium in Parker for just under 300 seniors. Crews worked for hours to clear the snow from the field and the ceremony kicked off five hours later.

“To be honest with you, it’s amazing to see how many parents, families, and friends; just came out and braved the cold. I mean, this is not an easy thing to do especially with a lot of out-of-towners,” Said Tim Page.

Page and his family came to support his niece and his son, Matthew, both graduating. And the Page family came with additional support; grandmas, aunts, uncles and cousins took up a large section in the stands.

As a surprise to their graduates, the Page family dressed in costume. Each family member came as character from the movie Minions.

“We’ve planned this for like 3 months! My son had no idea,” said Page.

Matthew is the third of the Page children to graduate from Ponderosa High School. All of the ceremonies have been outside but none of them have included snow.

Many of the graduates came prepared, some even wearing knit hats underneath their mortarboards.

The ceremony lasted a full two hours.

“I’m excited I’m cold it’s freezing out here! I think I’m gonna go home and warm up,” said Matthew Page.

Shawn Chitnis

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