DIXON, Illinois (KWQC) - A year is approaching since last year's school shooter at Dixon High School. Faculty and students remain strong and optimistic as graduation approaches. The principal says it's about the seniors and making this ceremony as normal as possible.
"Since then, we've changed a few protocols at Dixon High School to ensure students' safety," said high school principal, Dr. Michael Grady.
A school shooting that was prevented during graduation practice last year has Dixon Schools beefing up security.
"There will be an increased police presence in and around Dixon High School from now through graduation," said Dr. Grady. "As normal as we can be is what Mark wants, so that's what we're going to do."
There's only one secure entrance into the building now, 120 new cameras installed in the building, and added police patrols around the school.
"We feel that they do a great job, and they're going to protect us like they have in the past," added Dr. Grady.
Because of the anniversary of the attempted shooting, there is still a sense of tension right now.
"Staff members are getting a little edgy, that's to be expected," said Dr. Grady. "But again, we're trying to have this be as normal of a situation as we can. Our confidence and everyone's confidence in the Dixon Police Department and Lee County law enforcement is second to none."
Their principal says making sure this graduation is about the seniors is what's most important.
"Every class is unique, and every situation is unique," he added. "These Seniors and their parents deserve their day so that's what we're going to give them. That's what we're going to give them, that's the focus - their achievements both academically and athletically and what they're going to do in the future and we're going to try and send them off as only Dixon High School can."
Dr. Grady couldn't praise his faculty, the Dixon police department, and the community members enough for all their help over the last year. It was a horrible incident that he says has ended up making everyone stronger in the end.
Officer Mark Dallas was the resource officer who stopped the potential deadly shooting. He was honored and recognized by the president for his heroism.