NEWPORT, N.C. (WNCT) – It’s a big weekend for high school seniors throughout Eastern North Carolina as many of them are graduating.

In Carteret County, Croatan’s class of 2023 is looking back on its experience in high school and looking forward to the future. Students put on their caps and gowns and said they were ready to get their diplomas, as they finish one step and prepare for the next.

As students take their last walk through the halls and onto the stage for their diplomas, they reflected on their four years spent at Croatan High School.

“I’ve grown up with these kids ever since like elementary school. So seeing everybody’s faces every day, I’ll definitely miss,” said graduate Carolyn Le. 

It was a bittersweet moment for them all.

“You look back with fond memories, and you look forward with anticipation. So I’ve had a great experience here. I wouldn’t have traded it. But I am ready for the next chapter. I’m ready to spread some good,” said PJ Kramer, another graduate. 

Many have bright futures and plans ahead of them.

“I’m gonna be going to Montana State University and studying pre-med,” said Jackson Griffin, another graduate. 

“I’m going to NC State University in Raleigh. I’m going on a full ride, and I plan on majoring in criminology,” said Le. 

“I’m going to be attending American University next fall, I will be majoring in International Studies,” said graduate Tayla Statham.

Still, more big dreams are ahead of them.

“I hope to work for the State Department one day as a diplomat and maybe one day as an ambassador,” added Statham.

Not only are the students closing the yearbook but also faculty are moving out of their offices and into new chapters of their lives.

“This is my last graduation, hope I can get through without tears (Friday night),” said Principal Kay Zimarino. “I’ve had a wonderful career. Couldn’t ask for a better place to work and better people to work with and better people to work for.”

The graduating class wishes that all the future students of Croatan High School enjoy their experience just as much as they did.