They started across the stage as students but finished as graduates.
"Welcome to the second graduation in the history of Oak Hills High School!" Principal Larry Porras told the crowd assembled at San Manuel Amphitheater.
The class of 2012 is the last Oak Hills class entirely made up of students who started at another high school first.
"This may be the end, but it's the end of the beginning," student body President Tyler Hicks said.
The speeches Monday night looked back at the three years the Bulldogs had spent at Oak Hills and of what still lies ahead for the 397 graduates.
"Today, we go where there is no path and leave a trail," senior class President Madison Sandwick told her fellow graduates.
But it won't always be easy, they were warned.
"I'm here to tell you young people that life can be hard," Porras said. "You fight through those tough days. You fight through."
Bulldog Tori Thompson is no stranger to challenges: The autistic 18-year-old bounced in and out of the foster-care system before being taken in permanently by her aunt in 2002 and being adopted by her three years later.
"Seniors in my English class found out (about her autism) when I mentioned it in a project," she said. "I really wish I was a cool kid, but it doesn't really workfor me."
If Thompson's dreams of designing and selling her own fashions doesn't work out, she has a fallback career plan, one that might bring her back into an area classroom one day: "I think I'd be a pretty cool teacher."