SAN MARCOS, Calif. - More than 2,000 Cal State San Marcos students were able to walk after their graduation ceremonies were canceled due to the Cocos Fire.
"It means a lot more knowing it almost got taken away from us. It is a big deal," said graduate Mayra Valdez.
The commencements were initially planned for last weekend but because of the Cocos Fire, which came close to the university, school officials canceled all ceremonies.
For Valdez, who is the first in her family to earn a college diploma, it was difficult news to hear.
"I feel like it's mostly for my parents," she said. "I'm doing this for them, so knowing they may not have this moment was very heartbreaking."
After the fire was contained, the university rescheduled all ceremonies for this weekend.
"We're finally here after five long years," said one student. "It was time."
Janelle Temnick, who is with the university, told 10News, "Some of the challenges we did face was having to get a new stage, having to get a new Jumbotron and also making sure we had enough chairs we could rent."
There are 2,600 students graduating this weekend and the ceremonies continue through Sunday.
Commencement weekend was also begin at the University of San Diego on Saturday with ceremonies for graduate students in the schools of Business, Leadership and Education Sciences, Nursing and Peace at 1 p.m. in the Jenny Craig Pavilion.
Other USD students will graduate Sunday. Nearly 2,000 students will receive degrees at USD over the weekend.