Standing in front of a row of chairs watching friends and family shuffle into the building, Hollie Noel reflected on the biggest lesson she learned during her high school career.
"No matter how hard it is, it is always important to do your best and it always pays off in the end," she said.
Hollie was home-schooled with her brother Jesse Noel and graduated May 18 alongside Taylor James, Megan Ruffridge and Jared Wood from Wings Christian Academy. She said the best part of going to school was learning alongside Jesse. Family is important in the Noel household, she said.
"I was kind of hesitant about graduating by myself and I got my school done early and I was really excited because I really wanted to graduate with him," she said. Hollie added the hardest part of high school was English class and that she might want to pursue a career with computers.
Jesse said he wasn't quite sure how to describe all he felt about graduating.
"It just means a lot, that I actually got through it," he said.
His favorite part of school was receiving a bit of his fathers' teaching along with his schoolwork. Interwoven in those lessons was a guide on character, he said.
"Honesty, integrity, just all of what a man needs to have in life," he said.
Jesse said he was leaving all doors open for the future -- he hasn't settled on one thing but his hobby might be a path he pursues.
"I really enjoy horses and I was raised with horses," he said. "So ranch work has always appealed to me."
Wood said he had been going to school at Wings for nine years.
"I'm finally here -- I'm graduating a year late," he said.
He said his favorite part was playing basketball with his friend Alex, who is now in college. He would like to be a firefighter soon and pursue a career in the medical field later.
"If I can help in any way, I want to, so I was thinking the best way to do that was as a cop or a firefighter," he said.
Wood said he wanted to quit school several times but family and friends kept him on the straight and narrow.
"Study your hardest and try to get honor roll or try to reach a higher goal," he said when asked what his advice for young students would be.
Ruffridge said her favorite part of high school was hanging out with her friends.
After graduation, she said she will attend a bible college in Wisconsin to study accounting.
"I love math," Ruffridge said.
A lesson she learned she said was particularly important to her was to "use everything I have been given and give it back to God."
James agreed that spending time with friends and getting to know them was the best part of her time at Wings. Unlike Ruffridge however, James said she is not a math person and would go to nursing school based on her interest in taking care of people.
"It's awesome," she said of graduating. "It is a lot of hard work and when you are done with it, it's nice."
Said James, "Cherish the moment and don't ever wish away your time."