A special part of the ceremony Friday night for Goldsboro High School graduates was the release of seven doves after diplomas were awarded. The doves were courtesy of J.B. Rhodes Funeral Home.

Teacher William McIntyre explained that the number seven represents completion.

"You have completed this part of your lives," he told them."

Salutatorian Sharmane Powell encouraged her fellow classmates saying, "As you move forward, do everything with purpose and walk with poise. It's OK to be scared because that means you're about to do something brave, feel that fear and do it anyway.

"We want to say thank you to the teachers that have filled our head with knowledge and some who have made us very conscious."

Valedictorian Naquana Sessoms told the graduates that their future starts today with graduation, and encouraged them to be their own best.

Before the students turned their tassels, class president Jacob Owens said "The journey hasn't been easy, but we made it. We are more than a class; we are a family."

One graduate, J'Quonn Dancy, said graduation felt "perfect."

" It's taking a big step. Now my next step is to get through college and accomplish what I need to do."

He said he had a lot of challenges throughout high school, but his best memory would be getting that diploma. He plans on becoming a mechanic and a nurse at the same time.

"It feels good to graduate," said Annquenette Broadhurst.

She said her biggest challenge in high school was being bullied a lot. She plans on going to Wayne Community College for a career in parent and child development.

Keeping her grades up and working hard was the biggest challenge for Zoyriah Hargis.

"It feels excellent to graduate," she said. "I made it."

She will attend Bennett College in Greensboro to study criminology.

Cody Gallagher said it felt "amazing" to graduate.

"I made it," he said.

The most challenging part of high school for him came at the beginning.

"I wasn't really paying attention and doing the work I was supposed to do," he said. "Then I realized that I was supposed to do what I had to do in order to graduate."

He will attend Wayne Community College for engineering.

Gallagher, too, shared the one thing about high school he'll never forget.

"This one right here," he said, holding up his diploma.