The Bel Air Bobcats' signs were on the gymnasium walls, but Bel Air High School was filled with Fallston pride Thursday evening.
More than 600 people attended the graduation of the Fallston Class of 2012, including 277 graduates, as well as the Fallston orchestra and chorus, which provided music for the graduates' procession into and recession from the gymnasium.
The ceremonies began with the Pledge of Allegiance, led by valedictorian Kristina Maria Dziki. The patriotic mood continued, with Rick Grambo, vice president of the Harford County Board of Education, encouraging students to take advantage of the opportunities afforded to the graduates because of their status as citizens of the United States.
Following similar remarks from local dignitaries, four members of the Class of 2012 each gave a speech to their peers. Eva Benvenga, Kristina Dziki, Jacob Ryan and Samantha Hubner reflected on the memories and friendships built during their four years at Fallston High School, and the many ways in which their time at Fallston has prepared them for the exciting challenges of life after high school.
The audience of family and friends was excited, but respectful as each graduate walked across the stage to receive his or diploma, but once the last name was called, the audience members and the graduates burst into uproarious cheering.
After the conclusion of the ceremonies, graduates, underclassmen and well-wishers mingled outside the gymnasium, taking photographs and exchanging hugs.
"Today, I feel very proud. I've never been this proud in all of high school." graduate Manoa Braun said. "This is just so amazing."
And, judging from the gleaming smiles of his classmates as they tossed their brown and white mortarboard caps into the air, they all agreed.