Eighteen seniors accepted their diplomas Monday becoming 21st Century Charter School’s inaugural class during commencement at the Genesis Convention Center.

Learning guide Patricia Tatum gave hugs to graduating twins Dentrell and Darnell Smith before members of the class marched from their school to the convention center across the street.

“These are my babies!” Tatum said. “I feel like I am seeing my child graduate.”

The Smiths were among those who started at 21st Century when it opened.

Principal Angela West, who came to the school a year ago as an assistant principal, said 15 of the 18 graduates spent all four years at the charter school and four also received college credit from Ivy Tech Community College.

“To be a part of the first graduating class is a thrilling event for me. I am very proud of them,” she said.

Keynote speaker Regina Biddings-Muro, executive assistant to the chancellor for engagement at Purdue University Calumet, told the graduates they were like her daughter Anita who will graduate in two weeks.

“You all will face a world of uncertainty … but it will also be a world of opportunity,” she said. “The world will rely on you for new ideas and you will have to take this jump and spread your wings.”

Valedictorian was Norman Richmond and salutatorian was Aundrea Winbush. Richmond said thousands of doors will be there for members of the class to open.

“All doors will have opportunities; some doors will be slammed in our faces, but we must keep moving,” he said.