FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. (WKRG) — The 2022 graduating class of Fort Walton Beach must be electric, the power during the ceremony cut out leaving the ceremony in black.
Video from the ceremony shows a transformer exploding at the back of campus. The graduation was being held on the football field with a stage for the seniors to cross and receive diplomas.
When the light blew and the field went dark, cell phone lights instantly filled the night but that was not enough.
Okaloosa County deputies on the scene for protection bought in their SUVs and used spotlights to bring the stage back to life.
The school used the OCSO PA system to announce graduates across the field and finish the ceremony.
Friends and families celebrated a once-in-a-lifetime moment in the most unique way.
Kathy Lares Buchanan was in town from West Virginia to watch her grandson Colton Hatcher walk the stage and caught the explosion on video. Buchanan said the light delay was about 30-45 minutes before the show got back up and running.
“I think everybody’s thoughts at first when it very first happened was there had been a firework explosion,” said Buchanan. “And then the lights went out but then you know the lights over at the baseball field came on and I think everybody realized what had happened.”
Kathy believes metallic confetti caused the transformer to blow, but officials have not confirmed.
“That’s what it looked like, even from the video,” said Buchanan. “If you look up in the right-hand corner right before it happens, you can see that metallic confetti floating that way. “
Graduation week has been filled with stormy weather. The school district went forward with graduation plans after the rain let up on Wednesday evening.
The light delay caused Colton’s celebration dinner to be put on hold. The family has plans to celebrate Thursday with the new graduate.
“He was all over the place last night,” said Buchanan. “We were all saying the best graduation we’d ever attended. Not only did Fort Walton Beach put on a show, but then everything lit up.”