Grads to take stage

Let there be light – and flashes from cameras. And caps flying all over the place. And late-night parties. And sleeping in. And crowded beaches. And, most importantly, perhaps, no more homework.

At least until college.

Throngs of Newport-Mesa seniors will receive their diplomas today in ceremonies that will mark the first day of summer vacation and the entry into the so-called "real world."

At Estancia High School on Wednesday, it was clear that the maintenance and operations staff had kicked into overdrive, setting up hundreds of plastic seats on the green artificial turf inside a $9.5 million stadium that opened two years ago.

"It's going to be crazy," said Mario Cerda, a maintenance worker. "When you see all the parents and all the children all in one place, it kind of hits you all of a sudden, and everybody is telling somebody what to do and how to do it."

The graduation ceremonies are a bit like a wedding ceremony, which is to say there were rehearsals over the past few days as jittery seniors tried to get their choreography down, while making sure not to slip while walking up to the stage.

"They've been preparing since Monday," said Shane Frandsen, Estancia High's maintenance and operations manager.

And to be fair, there are a pair of other high schools that will hold their graduation ceremonies at their respective spaces: Corona del Mar High School inside its gym and Newport Harbor High School at Davidson Field.

Back Bay High School's graduation ceremony will start at 10 a.m., followed by Estancia at 1 p.m., Newport Harbor High School at 3 p.m., Corona del Mar High School at 5 p.m., and Costa Mesa High School at 7 p.m.

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