Peace symbols or '06 decorated the top of some of their caps. Others wore sunglasses or flitted nervously in the auditorium with their friends as they waited to proceed out. Cristina Laughbon, 17, wanted to know which side her tassel went on.
"I'm going to college, I'm going to study physics," she said. "I'm basically a nerd."
Flip-flops and tennis shoes seemed the norm for guys, who wore blue robes. Girls wore sandals or heels. And many students wore leis on top of their robes - Elia Bell, 18, had at least a dozen.
"My family is originally from Hawaii," she explained. "It's their way of telling me congratulations. They started putting them on early this morning. They'll save the fresh ones for later, so they don't wilt."
The leis come with history - the white chorded one is from her grandmother, the brown beaded one from her brother-in-law and the green leafy one from her sister. Elia will pass them onto future children.
She'll head to Nevada State College in Las Vegas in the fall to study nursing.
"I'm a bit anxious, I'm a little bit nervous (about the future)," she said. "I figure everyone has to deal with it. I figure you make mistakes, but they're your mistakes so you learn from them."
During the ceremony, Molly Fronapfel, senior class president, recounted her highlights from the past year - Mr. Carson High, the dodgeball competition, the liquid mercury spill, even Jell-O wrestling.
"This year we've been overwhelmed with so many activities and graduation requirements, all of which have forced us all to take responsibility to reach our goals," she said. "Remember to take a strong step in to the next chapter of your lives. Good luck and congratulations class of 2006."
• Contact reporter Maggie O'Neill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1219.
Highlights of this year's graduating class:
• First to host the State Leadership Conference
• First to go to culinary team nationals
• First to rank top in the nation in the NJROTC rifle competition
• 455 graduates
• 179 Millennium Scholars
• Valedictorians: Sophia Raphael and Samantha Valerius
• Salutatorian: Danika Keating