As they lined up in alphabetical order in the Sun Dome waiting to take center stage, seniors laughed, cried, straightened ties and worried. The 407 graduating Armwood High School seniors worried about their futures and, a more immediate concern, how to keep their hats from falling off during the 4 p.m. graduation.
Senior Mike Fetterhoff planned how to make people laugh as the orchestra played the national anthem in the background.
"I'm kind of the class clown," he said. "I'm going to trip. I want to make graduation kind of exciting."
Little more than an hour later, Fetterhoff got a roaring laugh from the audience as he tripped onto the stage just before clutching his diploma.
Fetterhoff said teachers knew about his plans and threatened him with his diploma, but he didn't believe them.
Valedictorian Joel Cohen asked seniors to remember the good times: "the food fights, friends, and mid-afternoon bomb threats. And after all this, you have to pay $3 just to get your diploma," referring to the $3 parking fee at the Sun Dome.
Alice Gault, senior sponsor, said 50 percent of the seniors are college bound, each with a different plan. William T. Orr, assistant principal for curriculum, announced scholarships accepted by seniors.
Senior Denise Yates said she decided several weeks ago after she had surgery on her appendix that she wants to be a nurse.
Jemy Jacob, student council president, said she plans to go to the University of Florida in the fall and major in medicine. Jacob, born in India, said she just learned that because her parents became U.S. citizens three years ago, she is now a citizen, too. She plans to stay in the country and become a doctor.
_ LEE ANN JACOB