Class of 2017 celebrates bittersweet graduation in Brentwood

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BRENTWOOD -

A bittersweet graduation celebration was held Sunday in Brentwood, a community that has been rocked by gang violence.

More than 1,200 students marched along Brentwood High School's Ross Center campus as thousands of proud loved ones filled the stands.

Class of 2017 graduates celebrated their success while remembering their fallen classmates. A moment of silence was held to honor the students who have lost their lives to gang violence, including Nisa Mickens and Kayla Cuevas, who were found dead last September.  Police believe their deaths were linked to the MS-13 street gang.

Many students say the tragedy helped to open a dialogue with their teachers and parents. Some say it motivated them to work even harder toward receiving their diplomas today, and several graduates say they won't let gang violence overshadow their success.

During the ceremony, Assemblyman Philip Ramos presented a $500,000 check to the Brentwood School District for a gang prevention program.

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