Students walked, cartwheeled and jumped through the aisles after shaking hands with their teachers.
Tassels were turned to the left, and, in their excitement, students skipped the traditional singing of the alma mater and threw their caps into the air amid red, white and silver confetti, and streamers burst from cannons on the side of the stage.
Then the joyous mayhem began.
Family, friends and loved ones flooded onto the field to snap photos and shed tears with their respective graduates.
"Oh my God, we … made it," Kimberly Tilley, 18, shouted as she hugged and climbed all over her friend Christen Taylor, 17.
Christen's mom, Sherry James Taylor, watched them celebrate and hugged her daughter. They smiled widely at each other, standing amid the dust that kicked up from hundreds of weepy and shouting people.
"I feel so wonderful," her mother said."It was down to the wire. She almost didn't make it."
Now that she has, she is most likely on her way to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, Christen said.
For graduate Justin Hassis, 17, who gave the reminiscence speech at the ceremony, it was a different story.
A member of the National Honor Society, the California Scholarship Federation and the Burroughs choir, Justin said he was going to miss his high school life.
"There were a lot of rough times and a lot of fun times, but it was all great," he said. "I was excited to be moving on, but I know I am going to miss this."
Justin hadn't found his family yet in the bustle of the crowd. Many students stood on chairs, their hands raised and waving as they communicated a rendezvous with loved ones over their cellphones.
Dominic McKinnie, 17, had 10 people come to see him graduate. They stood in front of him in a semi-circle and took takes being photographed with him in his red cap and gown.