As summer begins, the graduating class of 2004 is moving toward the next step in their lives.
At least three of the 492 graduating seniors from Herndon High School admit they are nervous to leave the familiarity of their high school's halls, but say they are also excited for their future education.
"It's surreal," said Mikelyn Meyers. "I have waited for this moment for my entire life."
MEYERS, 18, said that although she's not nervous about her future education in linguistics at Georgetown University, she's not sure her parents are ready for her to leave home.
"I'm excited, but they're sad," she said, explaining she's the only girl, and the last to leave the house. "But I think they're really proud because they were very active and involved parents."
Her mother, Mikel Meyers, confirms her daughter's speculation at their concern. "She's our baby, so it's very bittersweet," she said. "Her father and I feel the way most people would when it's your youngest child moving away from home."
Although Mikel Meyers joked that she told her daughter she wouldn't make her call when she gets in at night, she said she cannot wait to see where college, and all the opportunities it presents, will take her daughter.
"College will be a way for her to come into her own," said Mikel Meyers.
"I am very nervous about her leaving home," Mikel Meyers said about her daughter's move to Washington, D.C., "but she's been such an incredible child," that she knows she'll do OK.
THE PARENTS of graduating senior Daniel Maguire, are dealing with a similar situation.
As the last to move out, Maguire, 18, has already sparked some early empty-nest emotions in his parents. "It's very exciting for us, we are very proud of him," his mother, Karen Maguire, said. "I felt like it was his time, his moment, and he deserved it, but there's a lot of emotion too because our daughter just graduated from college a week before."
Karen Maguire said that although she knows her son is at the point in his life where he is ready to begin his education at William & Mary College in Virginia, it will be rough in the fall when they are not attending his numerous school activities.
"He was so active at school with the band and all the things that he did, that it will be different and empty," she said.
But she added she and her husband, Dan Maguire, hope to take their minds off the empty nest by doing "more traveling than we have done in the past."
AT THE O'CONNOR HOUSEHOLD, the scenario is different, Kyle, 18, will be their first to leave home when he leaves for the University of Virginia in the fall.
"We're really looking forward to it, and he's ready to go," said father, Matt O'Connor. "Although, once he's out the door, that all may change."
"My younger brothers are already planning on what to do with my room," joked Kyle O'Connor.
These three seniors will also be missed in the school and local community, where they were active in numerous organizations.
Jean Turrentine, a retired Advanced Placement American history teacher, said in the years she taught O'Connor and Maguire she watched them make Herndon a better place because of their kindness.
"I have a lot of pride and happiness for all they're going to accomplish," she said, explaining she had come to the practice graduation to congratulate her past students. "I am proud to see them so grown up."
"It is an outstanding class," she said, "it's one of the brightest, most articulate classes to come through here — at least in the five years that I was here."
THE LIST OF ORGANIZATIONS and accomplishments for Maguire, Meyers and O'Connor is long, but some of their highlights include:
All three were members of the National Honor Society; Maguire was the president of Key Club, drum major for the band, participated in choir and the school musical; Meyers maintained a grade point average of 4.0 or higher throughout her four years at Herndon, she completed a semester-long internship (normally offered only to college students) with CNN's Crossfire and was a member of the school's language and math clubs; O'Connor completed internships in U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy's office on Capitol Hill and one with the Loudoun Hospital, he was on school lacrosse team for three years, and he maintained a GPA of 3.8 or higher throughout his four years at Herndon.
O'Connor was also the recipient of the Faculty Award, an award that principal Janice Leslie said is the highest award a senior can receive, and one that she said Kyle O'Connor's school and community involvement's deemed him more than worthy of receiving.
"We were very surprised," said Kyle O'Connor's dad, adding that as a teacher at the high school he knew his son had been nominated. "I didn't expect him to win it, we are very proud of him."