In a celebration marked by music, fireworks and even a few beach balls thrown in, members of Summerville High School's Class of 2003 received diplomas Friday night.
Before a packed stadium, confetti was thrown and cheers yelled as as some 126 seniors approached their seats on Thorsted Field just before sundown.
Celebrating continued throughout the ceremony, which ended with a fireworks display under a star-dotted sky an hour and a half later.
Every so often during the ceremony, a beach ball would appear and be bounced from senior to senior until school staff members could confiscate it. At one point, three balls were bouncing at once.
But respectful silence was observed during the singing of "The Star Spangled Banner" and during a moment of contemplation for senior Ann Marie Rickets, who died of cancer in May.
Salutatorian Amber Burkan called for the moment, then said Ann Marie, a fun-loving and happy person, would appreciate a cheer.
The crowd roared and yet another beach ball flew.
Jazz @ 8 members sang the lullaby, "Goodnight My Angel" in her honor.
They also sang "Light the Fire Within" in honor of the senior class.
Another musical selection was performed by senior Lisa Greyson, who sang "Please Remember."
Valedictorian and class president Vanessa Cannon even chose to give her address in song, accompanying herself on the guitar.
Her musical address included memories of the Class of 2003's Summerville High experience and a tribute to parents.
The graduating seniors listened attentively as the guest speaker they chose, retired Summerville High Associate Principal Denny Wong, gave them the same advice he said he would give his own children.
"You must go on to the next step in life," he said, "but don't rush it. Enjoy tonight. Remember, "stressed" spelled backwards is "desserts."
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