Parents and grandparents cried. Brothers and sisters looked on in awe. Educators stood proudly and beamed as they handed diplomas to this year's high school graduates. And the graduates, resplendent in their caps and gowns, whooped and hollered and exchanged high-fives in celebration of the milestone. The graduation ceremonies, which began in Prince George's last month and concluded Friday, capped another year for the county public school system. About 7,000 students graduated from 26 schools, including Tall Oaks Vocational High School in Bowie, Croom Vocational High in Upper Marlboro and the alternative RICA program in Southern Maryland. Most of the ceremonies took place at the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro and Comcast Center at the University of Maryland, and featured speeches by valedictorians and others. Yesterday was rhe last day of school for students.

Graduates from Fort Washington's Friendly High School stand for the Pledge of Allegiance at Comcast Center at the University of Maryland in College Park last Thursday . Crossland High School graduate Brittany Clemons hugs senior class administrator Pamela Parham after getting her diploma. At right, Donna Henderson, mother of senior Mark Henderson, reacts to his graduation.Crossland High School seniors applaud during the ceremony, above. At right, diploma in hand, a Crossland graduate expresses the spirit of the occasion.Friends and family members of Friendly High seniors capture the moment for their photo albums and video libraries. Friendly High School seniors, above, at graduation last week. At right, valedictorian Joy Noel Tydings, from Crossland High School in Temple Hills, addresses classmates. Both schools held their ceremonies at Comcast Center.A relative holds up a photo of Friendly student Stefenie Perry during the graduates' procession.Nadia Childs of Friendly High gets her cap straightened by classmate Alysha Chapman.