|Heritage High School seniors stand together during Thursday night's commencement ceremonies.|
Hundreds of family members and friends packed the bleachers to watch graduates receive their diplomas and cross the threshold into adulthood.
Many of the students are already embracing this transition. During the introduction of the ceremony, principal Julie Zierold mentioned the different paths students planned to take, such as continuing their education at top universities, attending vocational school, or joining the military.
In a speech she gave, salutatorian Kennedy Gould addressed the future students will soon encounter. Zarabeth Sandoval, valedictorian, also spoke during the ceremony.
"Today is our initiation into adulthood," said Gould. "We get to make our own decisions, good and bad."
Gould added, "If I'm forced to enter adulthood, I want to do it with people who will bring light into the world."
The graduating class was presented by Zierold and accepted by Dr. Johnathan Greenberg, superintendent of the Perris Union High School District. The Mighty Patriot Regiment provided music for the ceremony.
The Board of Trustees was in attendance, as well as Menifee Mayor Scott Mann.
Diplomas were handed out by Zierold and school counselors amidst cheers and whistles from the crowds.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, senior class president Alexandra Hinkle directed graduates to "turn their tassels."