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Out on their own: Cedarcrest's Class of 2010 celebrates graduation
Following a commencement ceremony full of song, fanfare and words of advice, Crystal Montes emerged from the auditorium of City Church in Kirkland and into the arms of her mother and siblings.
"It feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders," said Montes, who is of Mexican heritage. She is the first high school graduate in her family.
Montes was among the 187-strong senior class that walked during commencement exercises Friday, June 11.
An hour earlier, she had embraced Laura Minkiewitz, as the two shared the last hug of their high school career.
Dressed in burgundy gowns and mortarboards, the pair pledged to stay in touch.
"She's a handful, but she's got your back," Minkewitz described her friend.
Hugs and handshakes broke out along the line of grads as they waited for the final act.
"We are done!" said senior A. Alexandria Chittenden.
During the ceremony, Dan Armstrong took the stage to counsel students on making their mark
"I'm here to be the bearer of the last bit of bad news you'll hear while you're technically still in high school," the social studies teacher said.
Life will hold big risks, Armstrong explained. But you can't worry about messing up.
"You have to weigh your options, make your choices and let history be your judge," he said. "You can't go through life afraid of taking risks."