Whether they're headed to college, to work, or on a European backpacking trip to find themselves, the impact of what they've accomplished was not lost on the graduates.
When the Fresno High Warriors left the stage, it was Knight time.
Bullard High rehearsed for perfection Monday afternoon.
With 59 valedictorians and a six-foot-four-inch, 250 pound tight end for a seating marshal, the Knights were planning a smooth night.
"I'm excited. I can't wait for it to be over. It's kind of sad, though, seeing all my friends. I have like two weeks left and then I'm heading off to college, so it is kind of emotional," graduate Ian Taubler said.
Taubler is destined for UCLA and a football scholarship.
But not all these graduates have such a secure future, and many of the kids who started their education at the same time never made it this far.
Fresno Unified's graduation rate was significantly beneath the statewide average, according to the Department of Education, at 66 percent, compared to 74 percent across California.
Monday's graduates know they've achieved something significant.
"Can't do anything without a high school diploma," graduate Joe Cuevas said.
Now they've done it, and since it was their day, Action News let a graduate have the last word.
"I just want to say 'congratulations to the class of 2012.'" Taubler said.
Fresno Unified's other schools will be holding their graduations later this week.