(WBNG Binghamton) The season of high school graduations has returned to the Southern Tier.
On Friday night, seniors from four local schools tossed their caps and took steps toward their futures.
At Chenango Forks, more than 100 graduates took those steps across the school's football field, the first time in several years the sun was shining for commencement.
"These last four years have been amazing," said Chenango Forks graduate Kyle Kelly. "I've made some great memories, some great friends. It's almost too real that it's ending."
It's a sentiment shared by his classmates.
"You see these people everyday, since you were 5 years old, until 18," said Forks graduate Alex Kelly. "It's going to be really sad to not see them everyday."
While Chenango Forks students said goodbye to each other on their own turf, Maine-Endwell graduates opted for a bigger space. Blue and gold took over the Binghamton University Event Center.
Graduation one of the biggest days of a student's life. And it can be an anxious and sometimes sad time for parents.
"I'm proud because she's going off," said Maine-Endwell aunt Ann Powell. "It's a new journey for her, and it's bittersweet I guess."
Loved ones had a few words of advice for life after high school: " Pray and take it slow and keep your thinking cap on," said Maine-Endwell parents Bob and Jan Prentice.
"There's a song by Lynyrd Skynyrd called 'Simple Man,'" said Maine-Endwell uncle Richard Gillan. "And I'm sure that his mother would love for him to listen to the song 'Simple man.'"
At Seton Catholic Central, the principal thanked parents for helping his 60 seniors stay on track.
"You are all leaders, in different ways," said Seton Catholic Central Principal Richard Bucci. "You engaged and motivated the student body. The administrators, the faculty, and I'm sure your parents in particular, are very proud of the fact that all 60 members of the senior class are graduating. More notably, all of this class, every one of them, is going on to an institution of higher education."
Loud applause rang through the auditorium as students walked across the stage to receive their diplomas.
The atmosphere matched the spirit at Chenango Valley, where parents and siblings cheered on as students threw their red and white caps into the air.
Chenango Valley valedictorian Janki Patel told her fellow students in her speech that she didn't get accepted to every school she applied for, but used those rejection letters as a motivator to reach her dreams.
Now she's looking forward to attending Stony Brook University and heading to medical school after that.
"I mean, I loved high school, but there's so much to do out there, so many opportunities to get, and I'm looking forward to that," said Patel.
Graduations continue all weekend, with Susquehanna Valley, Union Endioctt, Harpursville and Vestal on Saturday, and Binghamton and Johnson City on Sunday.