HUNTINGTON -- It was a time for 325 graduating Huntington High School seniors to say goodbye to close friends and think about what was in store for them Saturday at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena.
While some were sad to leave their high school years, most all expressed eagnerness to got on with the next stages of their lives.
"Graduation means the beginning of life," said graduate Keegan Phillips. "You work hard at times, but high school is just goofing off. I've been looking for a job for a while, but I haven't found anything. There's not much out there."
Summer Wheatley called graduation an accomplishment. "I have a scholarship to play soccer at Marshall," she said. "I want to be a physical therapist. Graduation is the ending to a new beginning."
Molly Lydick called her graduation day "the next step. It means I can start a new chapter in my life. I'll miss some parts of high school, but not all of it." In August, she'll attend Morehead State University.
Leah Levy, who was among a number of National Honor Society students graduating Saturday, won't be heading to college next year.
"I'm taking a gap year," Levy said. "I'll start as a freshman at Virginia Tech in 2014."
She plans to spend four months in Peru starting in January or February. A number of students are taking a year off before heading from high school to college, Levy said.
"I never thought (graduation day) would come," said Loy McGuire, Huntington High student body president. "I've had a lot of good times."
He plans to attend Miami University and major in engineering this fall.
Brianna Hutchison, another National Honor Society member graduating Saturday, said she'll miss some of her fellow graduates. "Graduation means I'm opening a new door," she said. She'll head through that door this fall as a graphic design major at Marshall University.
Dakota Parsons is another graduating senior who won't miss high school. "I'm ready to start a new phase of my life," Parsons said. Parsons plans to major in pre-med at Marshall.
Elizabeth Januszkiewicz also isn't sad about leaving high school behind. "I don't know what I'm going to do with myself," she said. She has a clue, though. She plans to major in biology at Marshall University. "I want to be a vet."
Shawn Daniels called graduation a bit rewarding and admitted to being a bit nervous. "I might go to college," he said. "I haven't decided." His twin brother, Shane Daniels, said he'll probably go to Mountwest Community and Technical College and take business classes.
Kelsey Pierce called graduation "a happy day."
For her mom, Lynn Pierce, graduation for her special needs daughter was both exciting and nerve-wracking. "This is the third time we've gone to a graduation," she said. "You would think I would be fine, but I'm a nervous wreck. We are so happy for her."
"Graduation means people are leaving," said Karima Neghmouche. It also will lead, hopefully, to a good job someday, she said. Neghmouche plans to attend Marshall this fall.
"It's the end of a great four years and it's also an exciting, new beginning," Bridget Gay said of her graduation. She plans to major in art therapy at Carlow University in Pittsburgh this fall.