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Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

Independence graduates Jackeline Luna, left, and Jennifer Rodriguez are happy and sad about graduation Thursday at Independence High.

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Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

Independence graduate Isai Castillo is excited for the start of graduation Thursday at Independence High.

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Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

Independence graduate Mark Felisilda gives a thumbs-up prior to his graduation Thursday.

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Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

Independence graduates Isai Castillo, left, and Darien Perez keep happy prior to the start of graduation Thursday at Independence High.

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Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

Independence graduates Isaac Clark, right, and Ryan Robinson get in a few dance moves before the start of graduation Thursday at Independence High.

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Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

Independence graduate Chris Ellis dances before the start of graduation Thursday at Independence High.

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Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

A group of Independence graduates are happy before Thursday's graduation ceremonies at Independence High.

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Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

Independence graduate Miriam Castro is all smiles while waiting for Thursday's graduation to start.

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Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

Independence graduate Isaac Clark gets the crowd going before the start of graduation Thursday at Independence High.

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Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

Independence graduates look for family while entering the graduation ceremony Thursday at Independence High.

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Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

Independence graduate Meredith Bluemel waves to family and friends at the start of graduation Thursday at Independence High.

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Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

Independence graduates, from left, Riley Spurling, Gabriela Ruiz, Kaci Mastersonm and art teacher Dacey Villarreal take a moment to smile for the camera before the start of graduation Thursday at Independence High.

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Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

Independence graduates, from left, Honoria Aguilar, Vanessa Francisco and Miriam Castro, pose before the start of graduation Thursday at Independence High.

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Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

Independence graduate Vanessa Perez looks to a friend before the start of graduation Thursday at Independence High.

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Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

Independence graduate Damilola Agbonkonlcon busts into a dance before the start of graduation Thursday at Independence High.

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Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

Independence graduates, from left, Kayla Dillon, Isaac Clark, Alexendra Deochon and Kristina Diaz are all smiles bofore the start of graduation Thursday at Independence High.

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Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

Flower girls Nicole Ransick, left, and Dajanae Reed await the start of graudation at Independence High Thursday.

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Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

Independence graduates look for family while entering the graduation ceremony Thursday at Independence High.

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Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

Kern High School District superintendent Dr. Don Carter leads the faculty and graudates during Thursday's graduation ceremonies at Independence High.

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Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

Independence graduates enter their graduation all smiles at Independence High in May. Students must pass the California High School Exit Exam to graduate from high school.

Whether they broke into dances, smiles or cheers, the spirit of the Independence High graduates was evident at Thursday's commencement.

Photographer Nick Ellis shares these images from the night.