Fist in the air, a thumbs up or just a grin.

Seventy-nine Greenwood Eagle or Emerald Viking graduates celebrated in different ways as they walked across the stage Thursday night.

“I feel amazing,” said Tahjiona Smith before walking across the stage.

“I feel like I got butterflies in my stomach, you know what I mean. Came a long time, been through a lot to get here, so it feels good to be here finally.”

Greenwood County School District 50 had its 20th annual mid-year graduation at the performing arts center.

“We are so proud of you guys,” said Ken Cobb, chairperson of the board of trustees.

He urged the students to be mentors for their peers and younger students.

“Be a mentor to them and let them know that it’s worth it and this is a goal that’s reachable because you did it,” Cobb said.

Students were nervous and excited ahead of their trek across the stage.

“I’ve been in school since I was what, like four? So this is all I’ve ever done,” Madyson Driggers said.

“I just feel like it’s going to be weird being gone.”

Ava Evans echoed that. “All I’ve ever done was school,” she said.

Graduate Robby Harrison said he’s feeling good about graduating. He’s excited because, after graduation, he’s headed off to Arizona State University for football and more education.

Others are headed for work or more school.

One graduate, Kemberly Jenkins, is graduating in the middle of her 11th-grade year. She plans to take the spring off, and then head to Piedmont Technical College.

The graduates received a standing ovation from family and friends after walking across the stage.

“We challenge each student here tonight to realize the importance of 0this educational milestone of their life and to also realize that this is not the end of learning but the beginning of the next phase of lifelong learning,” said Kathryn Benjamin, Greenwood High School principal.

Contact staff writer Lindsey Hodges at 864-943-5644 or on Twitter @LindseyNHodges.