Katie Peterson took a few moments Friday night to pose for photos with friends, all of which were dressed in their purple caps and gowns, in the hallway outside Caverna High School’s cafeteria.

While she wasn’t all that nervous about the commencement exercise in which she would soon participate, she was a little anxious about the next stage of life she would be entering.

“(I’m) a little scared to go into the real world, but excited at the same time,” she said.

Inside the cafeteria, her classmates were busy taking care of last minute details, such as straightening their caps and smoothing wrinkles out of their gowns, before lining up for the processional.

Marlene West, high school secretary, helped the seniors get ready.

Friday night was the fourth graduation for West and knowing it would probably be the last time she would see all 51 members of the class together, she said, made her sad.

“I’m excited for them, but for some reason I’m real attached to this group,” she said. “They are a good group.”

Behind West was Talara Garnett, who huddled together with friends for a quick snapshot.

Garnett said she was excited about graduation.

“I wasn’t at first, but now I am,” she said.

She was certain she wouldn’t cry during the ceremony, but Rebecca Sturgeon, who stood with friends on the other side of the cafeteria, wasn’t as confident.

As Sturgeon watched her classmates get ready, she fought back tears. Her senior year had flown by and she wasn’t sure she was ready to let it go.

“I’m kind of in shock,” she said. “It doesn’t feel like it should be coming true. It feels like it’s too early.”

Sturgeon feared she would cry when she heard the music for the processional start.

“I think that’s when it’s going to hit me,” she said. “When I hear the music.”

Prior to Friday night, no one in the class had mentioned anything about getting together for a reunion, but Sturgeon said if her class has a reunion she plans to attend.

“I think it will be amazing to see how everyone has changed over the years,” she said.

It was standing room only when it came time for the seniors to enter the gym. Family members snapped pictures as they paraded by and took their seats.

Several seniors received awards during the ceremony, including Wellington Chandler Gunn, who was valedictorian, and Bethany Lee England, salutatorian.

At least 20 members of the class received scholarships, said Dr. Sam Dick, superintendent of Caverna schools.

“And that speaks very well of them,” he said.

Among the seniors who graduated Friday night was Amanda Dick, the superintendent’s daughter.

The fact his daughter was a member of the class, he said, made it even more special.

As the seniors walked across the stage to accept their diplomas, Mary Ann Bellamy, senior sponsor, stood at the far right side waiting to give each senior a long-stemmed rose and a big hug.

Sturgeon sat on the front row and watched nearly all of her classmates receive their diplomas; fighting back tears most of the time.

But when she and her fellow graduates were dismissed, she was all smiles as she tossed her cap high into the air.

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