"The weird thing that makes me the most nervous is that I am leaving these people I've known for the last 12 years. They are people who know that when I was in kindergarten I wore there circular purple glasses but I turned out okay," said Melissa Beretta, graduating senior.
The day finally came. On Friday June 20th, Westport Staples High School said goodbye to its graduating class, leaving students to remember all the way back to day one and everything-in-between.
"It was interesting the other day I got a letter myself in 5th grade that was supposed to arrive on my high school graduation. And I listed my friends, because of course that's what you are supposed to do - the most important thing. It was like Jessica - still my best friend. Taylor - still my best friend. Listing all these people that I'm still so close with, " said Melissa.
Melissa Beretta is one of the 463 students to graduate this year, and she is also the class salutatorian.
"It's weird because everyone is leaving, not just the school - not just the town - but you're leaving people you've known for 12 or 13 or more years," she said
She gave her speech on Thursday, the night before graduation.
"Obviously growing up in Westport, we are growing up with so much more than others have. When we go off to college it's the type of thing where you forget that you have a lot of things others don't have. You have a lot of advantages. So, I want everyone to remember that," she said.
The next day around five thousand family members and friends gathered into the Field House at Staples High School. The Valedictorian Eliza Llewellyn tells her fellow classmates to focus on the present and to focus on that day.
"Feel the sweat on the edge of your seat - hear the ruffles of the programs. Learn how to enjoy the present, but don't lose sight of the future," she said.
And with that, one-by-one the students walked up to receive their diplomas.
"It's a clean slate with almost every single person you go to college with. And that's exciting, but it's also nerve wracking becasue you don't have the safety net of like - these friends are always going to be my friends," said Melissa.
Before long, hats were thrown and cheers echoed through the stadium - as students unanimously get excited about what’s next. But no matter what: They will always share the memories of Staples High School