TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Thousands filed into the Kansas Expocentre for a unique senior recognition ceremony that combined all USD-501 high schools and featured the First Lady Michelle Obama as commencement speaker.
"Here we are and everybody is unified and that's terrific," said attendee Curtis Ellis. "I think it's a good thing to bring all the schools together and I think the message came across really well," said Asza Houpe.
People were thrilled to be a part of the historic visit commemorating the class of 2014 and the 60th Anniversary of Brown Versus Board in 1954. Helen Adams said, "Her ability to describe all of that and talk to us about what it meant to her personally and what it might mean to the graduating seniors was just, wonderful."
Former Kansas Governor and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius believes the ceremony made Kansans Proud. "I'm so delighted to have the first lady here in Topeka to celebrate both the graduating class and the 60th Anniversary of Brown vs. The Board Of Education. It's a great night for the city."
Graduates felt they heard the First Lady's message loud and clear.
"It showed Topeka is one big family and everybody is happy and we can all come together when we need to," said graduating Highland Park Senior Zechariah Grubb.
Savill McClaurine, a Senior at Topeka High said, "I thought it was really special. It was a big honor and I can't wait to see what the future holds."
"It spoke to us not just about race but our journey, and she was wishing us well, so that was cool," said Topeka West Senior Donicia Vasquez
All three schools will celebrate their traditional graduation ceremonies on Saturday, separately.