Some Southern Arizona seniors graduation walk in question

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- High school seniors across southern Arizona can taste freedom. Graduation season is here and students are ready to start a new chapter in their lives.

But not every senior will be receiving that diploma.

Two students in the Sahuraita school district didn't receive their diplomas Thursday night.  They're among more than 80 seniors in Pima County-- and that doesn't even include TUSD students-- that didn't pass the AIMS test, so they can't graduate.

High school graduation is a major milestone in a teenagers' life.

"When I get that diploma, I'll be so satisfied because it's basically the representative of all 4 years of my high school work," said Sahuarita grad Dylan Carpenter.

But the cap and gown won't come easy this year for some students.

Thursday, dozens of seniors from the Sunnyside School District and their parents showed up at a special board meeting.  The controversial topic is whether or not the district's 55 seniors who didn't pass the AIMS test should walk with their classmates at graduation.

"I'm a good student who's proven many people wrong. I'm a student that has a future ahead of her and that includes walking on the stage with their family in the audience, smiling back at them," said student Selena Gomez.

"We worked so hard and we're not going to be able to walk, even though we have all our credits, because we didn't pass one simple test," said student Caitlin Whiting.

A couple concerns with the idea came particularly from Superintendent Manuel Isquierdo.

Whether or not students who walked would make an effort after the ceremony to one day pass the test and if allowing them to walk would do an injustice to students who met all requirements. 

In the end, the board voted to let the students to walk.

"That would mean the students would either be required to attend summer school, they could be required to attend the fall semester, they could be required to take the AIMS test," said school board member Magdalena Barajas.

"It's gonna feel amazing because I've been in school for so long," said Gomez.

Graduation for the Sunnyside School district will be next week.  The 55 students who will be able to walk will have to meet their requirements by December and then they can finally get their diplomas.