SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Thousands of graduates are celebrating following commencement ceremonies up and down the coast.
Amid all the pomp and circumstance, graduates are preparing for what's ahead.
"I'm going to Notre Dame next year, studying business finance," said Dos Pueblos High School graduate John Linehan.
"I am really excited to start the next four and my real life, but I am going to miss this place a lot," added Dos Pueblos High School graduate Casey Dwire.
For many, this day prompts all kinds of emotions, as one journey comes to an end.
"Kinda sad. I'm going to miss all the friends I have here. It was really a great place to sort of become yourself," said Linehan.
"We became ourselves in high school, and we take comfort in that. But now we have to go out and belong to the real world," said Dos Pueblos High School graduate Kierstin Brown.
The day is also bittersweet for many parents, like Brian Hill, as they watch their kids become adults.
"We are really excited. We're proud of her. She's done a great job in the four years at D.P. High School, and we're happy to be here and be a part of this celebration."
To educators, these ceremonies represent a successful four years. They believe each class--including the class of 2013--is one of a kind.
"Its always sad and at the same time exciting to see how big they're going to make their world, and what they're going to make with their lives, and this is just the starting off point," said Dos Pueblos High School teacher Rob Schiff.
Several Central Coast schools will hold their commencement ceremonies on Friday.
Righetti's graduation begins at 11:30 a.m. Santa Maria High School will hold its event at 2 p.m., San Luis Obispo High School's ceremony begins at 4:30 p.m., and Pioneer Valley's will be held at 5 p.m.