Singing Katy Perry's "Firework," the graduating seniors of Cardozo High School prepared to walk across stage and accept their diplomas.
"We've all worked very hard to reach this point in our lives. Congratulations!" said Hillary Berkowitz, the class valedictorian.
Addressing her peers, Berkowitz reminisced on their four years together, beginning with the first day of class.
"When we first walked through the doors of Cardozo, we were kids. Today, we've matured into young adults," she said.
And Berkowitz wasn’t the only graduate looking back on the past four years.
"Graduating today means we've all solved the problem of high school," said salutorian Ike Lee as he drew a parallel between the Rubik’s cube he learned how to solve while at Cardozo and the challenges he and his fellow graduates will face in life.
Rubik’s cube in hand as he addressed his peers, Lee looked towards the future.
"Our generation will inherit the world and all of its complicated problems. I urge all of you to think outside the cube," he said.
Also mindful of the difficulties life will present to these new Cardozo alumni was principal Gerald Martori, who wished the graduates luck while offering a few last words of advice.
"Always have the courage to follow your heart and intuition," Martori said, who added he was confident in the ability of these students to overcome any challenge they might face.
Among many honors, this year’s graduating class has been awarded more than $14 million dollars worth of scholarships.
“What you’ve accomplished this year represents the culmination of your hard work, dedication and growth - both academic and personally," said assistant principal Sheila Clark. "I am very proud of all of you."
But Friday's celebration wasn't just a moment for the faculty and graduating students to reflect on the accomplishments of the past four years.
"Watching your child graduate is one of the highlights in a parents life and it's wonderful to be here," said Jill Cohen, who came to watch her daughter, Alexa, graduate.
"I can still remember her kindergarten graduation. I can't wait to watch Alexa graduate from college," Cohen said.
You can view photos from Cardozo's graduation here.