The Hawks of 2014 were finally ready to spread their wings and leave the nest where they have spent the past four years.
North Harford High School graduated its 64th class, with 348 green-and-yellow-clad students walking across the stage in front of a packed APG Federal Credit Union Arena at Harford Community College on Wednesday evening.
Nick Wilson was among those feeling a real sense of accomplishment before the ceremony, as he prepared to finally get his diploma.
Nick said a lot of people did not think he would make it to this moment.
"I feel victorious," he exclaimed.
Despite the long road, Nick, who is headed to the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York to study acting, said he met many different people at North Harford and thanked his drama teacher, Nancy Green.
"It was a long, long ride. I got to meet a lot of interesting people, very interesting people," Nick said about his time in high school.
Delaney Allen, a fellow thespian, said she was looking forward to moving on to Towson University to major in film studies.
"I am very excited to graduate," Delaney said with a smile. "I feel complete."
She added North Harford is "a big part of who we are."
The arena was overflowing with friends and family members eager to see their student cross the stage.
Class valedictorian Garrett Sadtler gave his peers a few pieces of advice: "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard. We can always improve ourselves. Procrastination is not your friend. Learning is the most important investment we can make. And, life moves fast."
He realized one day he was about to graduate.
"Makes me feel really old," Garrett quipped, getting some laughs from the crowd.
Life in high school definitely flew by for some of his classmates, as Elizabeth Poffenberger said while hanging out with Alexandrya Peterson before the ceremony.
"It went faster than I thought," Elizabeth said thoughtfully about her time at North Harford.
She is going to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Arizona to study global security and was one of the first graduates of North Harford's new ag magnet program.
Elizabeth said the magnet program had some kinks to work out, as "we are the guinea pig year."
Alexandrya noted she is one of the first people in her family to graduate high school.
"It's a shock, actually, for me," she said, adding she plans to go into the Army.