This is high school graduation season across southern Illinois.
It's likely no class was prouder than the one in Cairo, where HUD's closure of two public housing complexes further damaged the already struggling community.
Derek Eurales Jr., was the featured speaker at Saturday's commencement. He travels the world as a musician, author and inspirational speaker. On a Facebook live video, the Cairo native told the graduates they must understand and embrace the value they will bring to the world.
"Every time the world throws a challenge at you, what you need to tell them Class of 2018, is here I come."
The 2018 graduating class at Cairo High School featured 26 students, 22 of which plan to attend college. Ten graduated with some college credits already under their belts and eight received scholarships.