July 3, 2008 · Updated 12:35 PM
"It's a lot like standing on stage waiting for the curtain to go up.Is my hat OK? asks one girl anxiously.How about mine? asks the boy next to her.I've got big giant butterflies, says a third, closing her eyes for a moment as if looking for some extra inner strength.Does the tassel go on the right side first?Despite the pre-show uncertainty, the class of 2000 at Coupeville and Oak Harbor high schools made grand entrances during their respective graduation ceremonies during the past week. On Saturday, 80 Coupeville seniors picked up diplomas. Monday evening, diplomas were handed to about 330 Oak Harbor students.This is a very exciting time of my life, said Oak Harbor senior Erica Morrow as she prepared to make the traditional walk to the strains of Pomp and Circumstance. I'm happy and nervous at the same time.Nervous tension was everywhere, especially as the clock ticked closer and closer to the appointed hour of commencement. It spilled out in hard-to-hold-back tears, in unconstrained smiles and in anxious chatter.Look at you.One last hug.If you go in there and embarrass me, I'll walk by myself.You lost your tassel, man.It's too warm in here.What do they call these hats? Isn't it motor-something?I don't know, it's just a graduation hat.As graduation time drew nearer, the pitch of voices rose and outbreaks of silliness ensued. But the excitement was also tempered with moments of sentimentality and gratitude.I love my parents so much for helping me do this, through the difficult times and everything, said Oak Harbor senior Stephanie Thorne.I thank my parents for pushing me to graduate. It was very worth it. I'm so glad for this day, said classmate Joyce Santiago.I want to thank my parents and my sister Chastity for their support ... and for my new car, added senior Christina Ries."