Florida Keys high schools will award 562 graduating seniors with diplomas for 2016 by the end of the week, as students have earned $4.5 million in scholarships.
After months of various ceremonies, awards and rituals handed down for generations, the main events are fast approaching.
"Please no air horns or excessive screaming while the graduates' names are being read," according to instructions handed out in Key West, adding that such noise could easily ruin the once-in-a-lifetime moment for the next grad in line.
Coral Shores High School's graduation is set for 7 tonight at the school at mile marker 89.9 oceanside, with 169 seniors on the program and 88 percent prepared to continue their education -- more than half at four-year colleges, according to Principal Blake Fry.
Marathon High will host its graduation at 8 p.m. Thursday at the school's auditorium, 350 Sombrero Beach Road, where 91 seniors will accept diplomas -- 75 percent headed to colleges or trade schools, Principal Wendy McPherson said.
On Friday, the largest Keys high school, Key West High, will award 279 graduates at an 8 p.m. ceremony at Tommy Roberts Memorial Stadium on Kennedy Drive.
At Coral Shores in Tavernier, two graduates will share the valedictorian title: Natalia Gonzalez and Tori Volland, while salutatorian is Emily Perrotti.
"This year was close with a couple final grades at the last hour," Fry said. The school determined salutatorian Monday night.
Marathon High hadn't reported its valedictorian and salutatorian as of midday Tuesday.
Key West High School has named Julia Passerelli valedictorian, with a 4.56 GPA, and Sydney Gallagher salutatorian, with a 4.55 GPA.
Passerelli and Gallagher, who both plan to attend the University of Florida this fall, will each give a speech at Friday's graduation, just like Coral Shores plans.
"It's their evening," Fry said.
Key West Principal Amber Bosco said 44 grads have GPAs of 4.0 or higher and three-quarters of the class of 2016 will attend college or other post-high school education.
Key West's class of 2016 has won nearly $400,000 in community scholarships and an estimated $2 million in scholarships from in-state, national or institutional sources.
Coral Shores reported its 169 seniors had earned $2.78 million in scholarships, including more than $1.4 million from colleges, $340,000 from the Take Stock in Children mentoring program and about $350,000 from local scholarships.
At least 11 graduates will enter the military after picking up their diplomas. Coral Shores reported seven headed to the armed forces while Marathon High said it has four.
"One senior leaves the night of Baccalaureate for his training," McPherson said.
Two other Keys schools have already held graduations.
Keys Collegiate Academy, a charter high school in Key West, honored 19 graduates at a ceremony June 3, where the keynote speaker was Shirrel Rhoades, a local film critic and former executive vice president of Marvel Comics. Ryan Cziko was the valedictorian and Damian Jones was salutatorian.
Island Christian School in Islamorada held graduation June 4, with four seniors. The private school doesn't select a valedictorian but Justice Craven graduated cum laude.