DIXON ILLINOIS-- Dixon students march forward to a new beginning just days after a student opened fire during their graduation practice.
On Saturday afternoon, family, friends and future graduates waited anxiously outside of Dixon High School for Graduation day.
As a precaution, extra security measures were added to the big day. Backpacks and large purses were prohibited from entering the ceremony.
" We had a very high level of security," said Mayor of Dixon, Liandro Arellano, "It's unfortunate but very necessary. It was very important to restore our students sense of safety as they come into the school."
When the ceremony began, Officer Mark Dallas led students the way into their seats. Officer Dallas is the school's resource officer who shot the shooter, potentially saving students and staff lives.
Dallas and Coach Andrew McKay were both recognized as heroes during the graduation ceremony. McKay rushed to students to safety during the shooting. Both he and Officer Dallas got standing ovations from the crowd of students, staff, and parents.
"I'd just like to say thank you(to them)for protecting us through this time making sure not one got hurt," said Jose Rodriguez, Dixon graduate.
As each student went up to the stage to receive their diploma, they got a chance to personally thank Officer Dallas with a handshake and a hug.
It was an extra special moment for Officer Dallas since his son, Josh Dallas, was among the seniors graduating Saturday.
Towards the end of the ceremony Officer Dallas snapped a quick selfie to remember the moment forever.
Vice President of the senior class Emma Krull said they won't let the shooting define their four years together.
"It's sad but it's definitely exciting we've all been really supporting of each other in what we're doing in the future. And I cant wait to see what we all do," said Krull.