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The CUSTOS Class of 2016 graduation dinner at the Flying Horse Club in Colorado Springs on Tuesday May 31, 2106.
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The Class of 2016 graduates from Discovery Canyon High School in a commencement ceremony at the Air Force Academy's Clune Arena in Colorado Springs, Colo. on Thursday, May 19, 2016. (photo by Liz Copan/The Gazette)
The Class of 2016 graduates from Discovery Canyon High School in a commencement ceremony at the Air Force Academy’s Clune Arena in Colorado Springs, Colo. on Thursday, May 19, 2016. (photo by Liz Copan/The Gazette)

For the full gallery, please visit The Gazette

Commencement exercises for Rampart High School were held on Wednesday May 18, 2016 at the Air Force Academy's Clune Arena in Colorado Springs, Colo. (photo by Liz Copan/The Gazette)
Commencement exercises for Rampart High School were held on Wednesday May 18, 2016 at the Air Force Academy’s Clune Arena in Colorado Springs, Colo. (photo by Liz Copan/The Gazette)

for full gallery, please visit www.gazette.com/graduation

Class of 2015, you are dismissed!

The U.S. Air Force Academy Class of 2015 tosses their hats in celebration as The USAF Thunderbirds roar over Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs, Colo. May 28, 2015. Over 800 cadets graduated and became 2d Lieutenants. Deborah Lee James, the Secretary of the Air Force gave the Graduation Address.  (Air Force photo by Liz Copan) (released)
The U.S. Air Force Academy Class of 2015 tosses their hats in celebration as The USAF Thunderbirds roar over Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs, Colo. May 28, 2015. Over 800 cadets graduated and became 2d Lieutenants. Deborah Lee James, the Secretary of the Air Force gave the Graduation Address. (Air Force photo by Liz Copan) (released)

I couldn’t be more proud of “my kids.”

I say my kids because four years ago I watched them; wide-eyed, insecure adolescents filled with a mixture of hope, fear, and uncertainty, “doolies,” some barely 18 years of age.

The U.S. Air Force Academy Class of 2015 celebrates after sending their hats skyward as the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds roared over Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs, Colo. May 28, 2015. Over 800 cadets graduated and became 2d Lieutenants. Deborah Lee James, the Secretary of the Air Force gave the Graduation Address.  (Air Force photo by Liz Copan) (released)

Through my lens, I have watched them grow and mature into women and men of great strength, integrity, and character, who will one day be tasked with leading our country.

Among the newest batch of second lieutenants, 360 will directly attend pilot training, 89 will work in space and cyber space fields, 89 will attend graduate school and 44 will join nuclear missile operations.

I still have a difficult time parallel parking, let alone flying a fighter jet (which is amongst one of the many reasons I am an artist).

840 hats were tossed in the air, voices raised in celebration as the F-4 Thunderbirds echoed their roaring sentiments.

You’re not kids any longer, congratulations Class of 2015.
US Air Force Academy Class of 2015 Graduation