More than 500 Mooresville High School seniors marched across the stage at Joe Popp Stadium on Saturday morning to receive their diplomas, cheered on by a standing-room-only crowd of family, friends, and neighbors.

After a welcome from Principal Samone Graham, Honor Speaker Erin Green asked her peers “to take a step back, breathe, and enjoy” this moment after years of hard work. “If there is one thing I take away from Mooresville High School, it is to learn from my experiences, not dwell on them.”

Green’s senior quote, the military phrase “Embrace the suck,” is somewhat inelegant but “very accurately describes life,” she said.

“Life is great, but when you have those troubling times, keep smiling and continue on. Don’t let them define you and drag you down. Laugh at the misfortune and welcome the challenge.”

Mooresville Graded Schools District Board Chair Greg Whitfield was among those to congratulate the new graduates.

“Approach the future with confidence, knowing you are ready, so dream big, take risks, and show gratitude and empathy for others. Use your experiences in education to positively impact the world.”

Superintendent Jason Gardner also reminded the graduates to “take time to reflect on the incredible journey that has brought you to this point and to embrace the anticipation of the exciting future ahead of each of you.”

Honor Speaker Bailey McIntyre said that one thread is woven through the fabric of their unique journeys.

“Every twist and turn, every triumph and setback, has played an important role in shaping who we are today,” McIntyre said.