BARSTOW • In a Barstow gym adorned with balloons and streamers of blue, silver and white, Silver Valley High School graduated 97 beaming and hollering students Tuesday night.
Loved ones cheered loudly as school officials named off each 2012 graduate — parents swarming the stage to get photos of the big moment.
"It's a dream come true," said SVHS graduate Amard Wright following the ceremony. "It took forever to get here."
2012 graduate Mariah Culbertson said graduation means life is going to start and in a better way. She plans to attend Barstow Community College and eventually a four-year school in hopes of one day becoming a kindergarten teacher, she said.
"It's the best feeling in the world just to be completed and accomplished," she said.
Wright and Culbertson were among the largest graduating classes Silver Valley has seen in a while, said Assistant Principal Shannon Hanson.
"It's a good group of kids," Hanson said. "We have several going on to universities. We expect a lot of good things from them."
Hanson said the strong friendship among graduates is what sets the 2012 class apart from those before them.
"This was a very close group of kids and that spread throughout the class," Hanson said.