Beloved Columbine High School principal steps down after 18 years

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GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. -- It’s a day most high school seniors will never forget and certainly a day the community will always remember. On Saturday, Columbine High School’s iconic principal; Frank DeAngelis; honored his last graduating class.

For students, graduation from high school is the next step. "I'm pretty excited to start my life and get out of high school,” said graduating senior, Alyssa Labnow.

For teachers and administrators, it’s often bittersweet, but possibly more so for Frank DeAngelis, the man who led Columbine High School through tragedy, back to greatness.

“I think Columbine will always be defined by what happened on April 20," DeAngelis said.

As he prepares to step down after 18 years at the helm, it’s clear his legacy will be defined by much more.

“He’s unlike any other principal I`ve ever had,” said Labnow. Fellow graduate Destiny Alfaro said, “He’s a really sweet guy. He’s like a father-figure to everyone. He cares about what you have to say. He`ll help you with any of your problems.”

DeAngelis certainly knows how to relate. He kicked off Saturday’s ceremony with something every student can appreciate.

“I want to get a selfie with myself and the graduates and I`ll be right back,” DeAngelis exclaimed during the ceremony, running off the stage. He even posted it on twitter. “I’ll send it out and see how many retweets we get it, but it was just spontaneous,” he said.

“He’s got a great sense of humor and a lot of energy,” Alfaro said.

It’s energy he gets from the students that keeps him going. “My first class was the class of `97, my last is this class,” he said on stage, adding, “We are family. We are Columbine. Once a Rebel, always a Rebel. You`ve made me a proud Papa. I love you.”

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