Much of the community came out on Thursday to celebrate the Robstown High School Class of 2012 graduation ceremony. Friends, well wishers and family members shared in both the students triumph and in what the future held for Robstown's best and brightest going forward.

“Every one of us worked so hard to get to this point in our lives, but we did not get here by ourselves. At every twist and turn, there were people who helped us a long the way and we are indebted to them,” Salutatorian Alex Pena said.

Pena explained that as a student at RHS, he had the opportunity to take architectural design, which gave him a chance to see how a building is constructed from the ground up. Pena said there was many comparisons that could be made between building a house, and how to transform young adults. Both are created from the ground up, he said.

“One of my first lessons was one must build a house starting with a strong foundation and then build upon it,” Pena said. “We too must have a strong foundation. Our early success was highly dependent on what we learned at home before we entered the doors to our first learning institution. Our parents were our first real teachers. They taught us lessons in respect character, humility and self worth. So to our parents, and our extended families, we say thank you.”

RHS Valedictorian Hannah Robles had to overcome a great deal on her path to graduation, including the death of her mother. But in those darkest moments, Robles found renewed strength in faith.

“As I had a mini flashback of these last four years, I realized that God was present at every single moment, and he never let me down. God is how I did it. My strength, my accomplishments, was by his grace,” Robles said. “I could not do this alone. With that being said, this has got to be one of the most humbling experiences of my life. I stand up here not wanting you to say, 'look at what she has accomplished,' but instead, 'look at the life God has saved.'”

Robles said after her mother's passing, the only reason she dedicated time to school work was because it offered a distraction to losing her. Then, a year and a half later, while attending a summer retreat, she fell in love with God.

“I realized that although my mother was not here, and there were days that the pain seemed unbearable, my life still had purpose,” Robles said. “From that day on I began to strive for this moment, because I wanted to show people the power of God's healing hand and his grace. I wanted to show people that despite the obstacles, the obstacles in life do not define us. Because Jesus overcame, we can overcome.”