Proud parents and grandparents of Tuscarora High School seniors stood with their cellphones held high to record the processional, cheering and clapping as their graduate walked in.
One young family member recorded the graduates for his Snapchat.
A mother in the audience wiped tears from her eyes.
Of the 372 graduating seniors, 366 walked across the stage Friday at Mount St. Mary’s University sporting a green cap and gown.
Six students are joining the military. One hundred and eighteen seniors received highest honors, 33 received high honors and 30 received honors, according to Tuscarora Principal Christopher Berry.
“Forty-four percent of our class graduated with honors of some kind,” he told The News-Post.
Whether the graduates are joining the military, going to college, taking a gap year or joining the workforce, the rest of their lives has just begun.
And the possibilities are endless.
Eliana Damaska plans to attend Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, to study theater.
She’s been performing in shows since she was little, adding that she used to force her sisters to do plays with her.
Once she gets to college, she’ll continue taking music and dance classes and plans to do musical theater once she graduates from college. She has dreams of being on Broadway in an original show.
John Atwell leaves Sunday for South Carolina to begin Marine Corps boot camp.
He decided at a young age that he wanted to serve his country and looked into various ways he could do so.
He’s excited to begin his career in the military because he’s been waiting for it for so long.
“I’m decently scared because everyone who goes through boot camp says you’re going to hate your life for three months, and I don’t doubt that,” he said.
But high school has prepared him.
“High school is where you really have to stop blaming your parents when you mess up,” he said. “The same goes for boot camp. You are the only one accountable for your actions.”
Ahead of commencement, Berry described the 2019 graduating class as laid-back and a lot of fun.
Last week, the class even pulled off a senior prank on the principal in his office.
“It was hysterically funny,” he told The News-Post. “They came in and put yellow Post-it notes on every surface that you could imagine. It was mid-century office supplies, I called it. It was clever, and they came in and cleaned it up.
To him, it was a good senior prank — nobody got hurt, nobody’s feelings were hurt and nothing was destroyed.
His message to the class was that as they go out into the world, he wants them to know they have the opportunity to shape the world whichever way they can.
“Everything that they know and understand about the world is going to change,” he said. “They need to have the ability to make those changes and they need to be part of that change.”