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Over the next four days, 3,823 Knox County seniors will graduate high school.

L&N STEM Academy started the graduation celebrations for the county with the first ceremony Tuesday night at Thompson-Boling Arena.

The 2014 class is the first ever to graduate from the school. And that's not their only first. They are the first to require STEM courses to graduate, first to give every student an iPad, and first to use a delayed start time.

"It feels great to be the first. We're kind of pioneers," said senior class president, Ethan Kearnes.

Since the school opened three years ago, the goal has been to give each student a science, technology, engineering and math focus with a personalized learning experience.

That's why Principal Becky Ashe feels like a proud mom.

"I feel like I've given birth to 42 babies all at once," Ashe said, "I thought I couldn't be more proud on the day we cut the ribbon in August 2011 and I was wrong. Because I'm even more proud today."

Their unique approach has paid off.

They scored in the top five percent of schools in the state in academics and growth.

Of the 42 students graduated, 40 are committed to four-year universities, two-year colleges, or the military.

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