Expect plenty of tears, hugs and smiles on the part of both students and parents the next few weeks as high school graduations are celebrated throughout Kern County.
For many, it's a bittersweet moment. New adventures await, either in college or the workforce, but graduation can also mean saying goodbye to close friends.
Some classmates who once saw each other every day now may have to plan ahead to meet up a few times a year. Moving on can be hard.
Nevertheless, most will feel energized by the possibilities awaiting them as they take their first steps into adulthood beginning with walking across a stage to cheers and applause as they shake the principal's hand and receive their diploma.
"Graduation from high school is the completion of four years of hard work," said Kern High School District spokeswoman Lisa Krch. "Our students have attended hundreds of hours of classes, participated in sports, clubs, extracurricular activities, and many of our graduates have benefited from one or more of our Career Technical Education courses.
"Thanks to our dedicated staff of teachers and our innovative curriculum, our students will graduate from high school prepared to succeed in the workplace and at the postsecondary level."
It's advisable to hydrate before and during the ceremony. Temperatures in Bakersfield this week are expected to stay in the mid-80s, but the following week rise back into the 90s.
Follow school etiquette during the ceremony. Some schools ask that cheering be saved until the end, while others may be OK with breaking out the noisemakers early.
The valedictorian has a difficult task: give a speech that by tradition is in part funny, moving and ebullient to a crowd of hundreds that is probably already anxious to throw their caps in the air. It never hurts to open with a joke, and to keep it brief. Go longer than 10 minutes and yawns could begin breaking out.
Capture the moment.
High school graduation is one of those few events where people tend to look back with nostalgia, leading to further reminiscences of a time when worries were relatively few and there seemed to be more hours in the day. Photographs, videos and various social media postings from the big day are likely to become more cherished as time goes by.
So when the big day arrives, embrace family and friends and don't be afraid to show emotion — even pride. Graduation is a milestone leading to a future unknown, and exciting.