For some, it was a graduation ceremony two months later than planned.

Others completed their high school credits ahead of schedule and received their diplomas early. And a few students new to the United States had fulfilled their course requirements but needed to pass a statewide test in English proficiency.

The 20 students wore caps and gowns and strode proudly across the stage at Broad Run High School at Thursday's summer school commencement.

"They all have their own stories," said Stephanie Silvis, a special-education teacher at Loudoun Valley High School, who served as principal of the county's summer school program.

They spent 34 summer days at Broad Run, going over algebra II, government, English and chemistry, among other subjects. And when it was all over, Silvis was determined that her new graduates--22 overall, two of whom did not attend the ceremony--would be treated to the same pomp and circumstance bestowed on every other graduating senior.

"For most of them, they want to wear the cap and gown," Silvis said. "They feel the same joy as the June graduates do. Sometimes it seems that a summer school graduate is not really a graduate."

So she requested that faculty members wear their gowns as they did in June. She asked Kenneth W. Culbert, the principal at Loudoun Valley High School, to give the commencement speech. She encouraged students to invite all their friends and family to pack the Broad Run auditorium.

"They have worked hard; they have taken the classes; and they have learned the lessons," Silvis said.

CAPTION: Sandra Watkins prepares for summer school graduation at Broad Run High School on Thursday.