They have had to overcome hardships most children — and most adults — do not go through, Daily Principal Sherry Stockhamer said.
"Many of you had to overcome almost impossible hardships," Stockhamer said.
"You've taken this second chance and really ran with it. You've had to go through things we never had to, or ever will."
Their own teachers revealed the students' stories to the more than 100 friends, relatives and teachers who showed up to the ceremony.
Instead of being handed a diploma and a few handshakes, each graduate was recognized and each of their amazing lives shared.
"It means [the teacher] took time to actually care and knew what I wanted to do with my life," said 18-year-old Ricky Sainz. "[The teacher] knew me as a person and not just as a student."
There were the handful of teenage mothers who had to take care of their own children as they struggled to complete their own childhood.
"Graduation was meaningful because of the fact that I accomplished school and raised a baby of my own at the same time," said 18-year-old Verdugo Academy graduate Brianna Randolph, who also nursed a 9-month-old daughter as she finished her independent studies. "I think if I can do it, anyone can."
There were students with a knack for causing trouble who found that their talents were appreciated at Daily, like 18-year-old Chris Sabino. The Daily student is an amazing graffiti artist who helped design the high school's first-ever mural — a three-story work of art picturing the Daily Dragon, art teacher Emily Goff said.
"And yes, graffiti is an art form," she said.