Celine DeAngelo, a senior at the Out-of-Door Academy, decided she wanted to decorate her graduation cap to show what university she plans to attend.
She went to Michaels and picked up all her supplies, and within an hour and a half, she had a giant 'E' sparkling on her cap for Elon University.
"I thought it turned out pretty good," DeAngelo said of her cap.
DeAngelo enjoyed her final big high school moment June 4 at ODA and, like many of her classmates, is already thinking about college.
"It's kind of crazy," DeAngelo said. "I've been at ODA since third grade. To see everyone graduating and where they'll go to school is exciting."
Graduates Ava Newcome, Chloe Kidd and Andres Espinel all said it was exciting but weird to be graduating.
"It's amazing," Newcome said. "These past four years flew by."
"At the same time, it doesn't feel real," Kidd said.
As graduates crossed the stage to accept their diplomas, families sat in the crowd cheering, sometimes blowing airhorns or popping confetti as they heard their graduate's name.
Crystal Lahners and her family had giant cutouts of her daughter, Ella Lahners, to cheer with when Ella Lahners accepted her diploma.
Crystal Lahners wanted to make Ella Lahners' graduation special because her father, William Lahners, died before he could see her graduate.
"We're so proud of her and excited for her future," Crystal Lahners said.
Margey Bonacuse held up cutouts of her granddaughter Austin Bonacuse during the ceremony. Margey Bonacuse said Austin Bonacuse is the first of her grandchildren to graduate from high school.
"It was so awesome," Margey Bonacuse said. "It was such a nice ceremony. We're so proud of her."
Most families had their cameras ready to take photos of the big moment.
Rick Lamb was standing in the stands following his son Ashton Lamb with his phone camera as he crossed the stage. Then it was time for more photos outside with Ashton's brother, Alex, and mom, Carrie.
"It's absolutely amazing to see my brother graduate and go off to (Florida State University)," Alex Lamb said.
ODA faculty, staff and ODA board of trustees members who had family members who were graduating could hand their graduates their diplomas for the first time.
Tammy Karp, a member of the board of trustees, was all smiles as she handed her niece Claire Karp Hauser her diploma and gave her a hug.
"That was such an honor," Karp said. "It was very special."